New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: The voting for the fourth phase of West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 started today at 7 am in 44 constituencies across 5 districts including Cooch Behar, Hooghly, Howrah, Alipurduar and South 24 Parganas. With the start of the voting, news reports of violence at the polling booths also started pouring in.

According to a report by news agency PTI, quoting police officials, a first-time voter was shot dead by unidentified persons outside a polling booth in West Bengal's Cooch Behar district on Saturday. The youth, identified as Anand Burman, was dragged outside polling booth number 85 in Pathantuli area of Sitalkuchi while voting was underway and shot dead, a police officer said.

Shortly after the incident, blame game between the BJP and TMC started with the Trinamool Congress alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party was behind the killing, while the saffron party claimed that the deceased was its polling agent at the booth and pointed the accusing finger at the ruling party in the state.

The incident was followed by clashes between the TMC and BJP workers outside the polling booth. The PTI report further stated that several people were injured in the violence and even bombs were lobbed outside the booth. The security forces deployed at the polling booth had to resort to lathi-charge to stop the violent mob and bring the situation under control.

"We have received information that a person was shotdead outside a polling booth in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district. We have sought a report from the micro observer as soon as possible and the returning officer was called up to know about the situation," an election official said, as quoted by PTI.

TMC leader and Natabari constituency candidate Rabindra Nath Ghosh alleged that the BJP workers were behind the killing. "BJP goons are behind the killing. They were creating a nuisance here for several days as they are losing the elections and now, they are killing people," he said.

Dismissing Ghosh's claim, Sitalkuchi's BJP candidate Baren Chandra Barman said that the deceased person was the party's polling agent at the booth and TMC activists were behind the murder. "He was our polling agent and was going to the booth when TMC goons shot him dead. Rabindra Nath Ghosh's claim is a total lie. We have informed the SP and the ECI about the incident, demanding immediate arrest of the culprits," Barman said.

Locals attack BJP's Locket Chatterjee's car and media persons in Hooghly:

Apart from the violence in Cooch Behar district, BJP candidate from Chunchura assembly constituency, Locket Chatterjee's car was also attacked today morning in the Hooghly district allegedly by locals of the area. The attack took place at the polling booth 66 in Hooghly district. Meanwhile, media persons were also attacked in the district and their cars were vandalised.

Visuals posted by news agency ANI showed vehicles of media persons and Locket Chatterjee vandalised. She even complained to the Election Commission about the incident and demanded additional deployement of security forces for free and fair conduct of polling throughout the day.

BJP's polling agent stopped from entering booth in Tollygunge:

BJP's polling agent, who was allegedly stopped from entering a booth in Tollygunge as the voting for the fourth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections is underway, was allowed to enter after Union Minister Babul Supryo's intervention.

BJP's polling agent at Gandhi Colony Bharati Balika Vidyalaya was initially not allowed inside the station. Further, BJP MP and candidate from Tollygunge assembly constituency Supriyo reached there and ensured the agent's entry.

"Till now everything is going smooth. TMC wants if some chaos can be created. Our polling agent has a valid ID but was not being allowed by the Presiding Officer and the TMC. We showed his details from the website. After digital verification, he is allowed now," Supriyo

Meanwhile, West Bengal recorded a voter turnout of 16.11 per cent till 11 am across 44 constituencies in five districts during the fourth phase of the state assembly polls. The Cooch Behar Dakshin constituency in the state has witnessed the highest voting percentage with a voter turnout of 24.00 per cent till 11 am, while the Behala Paschim constituency witnessed the lowest voting percentage with a voter turnout of just seven per cent.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan