Action to Allegations, Asansol, Ballygunge See TMC-BJP Fight, 44% Turnout Till 3 PM


West Bengal saw yet another intense clash between the Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), amid voting for the Asansol and Ballygunge bypolls on Tuesday.

Till 3 pm, Asansol saw 54.40 per cent polling, whereas 34.60 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Ballygunge , an official told PTI. The overall turnout was 44 per cent.

The results will be announced on April 16.

Over the past few days, Asansol, a prestige seat for the BJP for the past 10 years which was vacated after Babul Supriyo defected to the TMC, captured national attention. While the TMC hinged on actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha’s ‘Bihari Babu’ star power for the Lok Sabha seat with a substantial Hindi-speaking population, the BJP relied on fashion designer and Asansol Dakshin MLA Agnimitra Paul.

In Ballygunge Lok Sabha seat, it was TMC’s Supriyo versus BJP’s Keya Ghosh. The bypoll was necessitated after the death of former state minister Subrata Mukherjee last November.

LET THE ACTION BEGIN

The day in Asansol started with Paul’s comment that in case of intimidation and violence, there will be “maar ke badle maar [reciprocation]”. In the constituency, Barabani, Pandabeswar and Jamuria are considered sensitive.

She first complained that the state police was inside the polling booths to intimidate voters. She then asked the Central forces to act, taking her agents inside the booths.

She started to tour the entire constituency, with media in tow, and her convoy was blocked and attacked by alleged TMC workers. They claimed Paul was trying to influence voters. A scuffle broke out between Paul’s security guards and the mob, in which one security guard was alleged to be hurt. The EC sought a report on the incident, as the videos surfaced on social media.

Paul said, “Come what may, tell Mamata Banerjee we will win.”

Sinha, however, seemed relaxed as he visited various spots and even allowed voters to take selfies with him.

Talking to News18, he said, “The Opposition’s complaints prove that they have accepted defeat.”

The BJP’s allegations continued through the day, with claims of a journalist being stopped and booth president being assaulted. The BJP even targeted the state police, as the TMC attacked the Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) for “misbehaviour”.

Ballygunge was largely peaceful as Supriyo started his day with a song. Ghosh and CPI (M) candidate Saira Alam made a few allegations of misconduct, but didn’t escalate it further.

According to experts, while Asansol is a 50-50 battle, the TMC has an edge in Ballygunge.

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