Three people were injured on Sunday after bombs were hurled at a polling station during the voting for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls, reported PTI.
A police officer said that one of the injured persons has lost a leg and the others were undergoing treatment at a hospital. The attack happened in front of Taki School in ward number 36.
The police were examining CCTV footage in the area to identify the accused persons.
The police have arrested 72 persons for the disturbing law and order situation during the polls, NDTV reported. “One person has been arrested in connection with the hurling of bombs,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters), Subhankar Sinha Sarkar. “Others involved in the incident have been identified and they will be arrested soon.”
Another official said that a large police force had been deployed in the area where the attack occurred and the state Election Commission has sought a report on the incident from the police.
Voting is currently underway in all the 144 wards. The counting of votes will take place on December 21.
A state Election Commission official said that the voter turnout was 64% till 4 pm, according to News 18.
The election official said that polling has largely been peaceful except a few incidents. “Two incidents of hurling of crude bombs outside polling centres were reported,” he said.
The other incident of hurling bombs took place in Khanna area of the city. However, no one was injured there. The police have been deployed there as well.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party and and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) alleged that the Trinamool Congress was forcibly stopping booth agents from entering polling centres in several wards. The Trinamool Congress described these allegations as “baseless”.
BJP’s social media head Amit Malviya tweeted a video, in which he claimed that the police were manhandling party leader Brajesh Jha.
“At whose behest are they intimidating BJP candidates?” he asked. “Mamata Banerjee or her nephew, who is now super chief minister? WB [West Bengal] Election Commission and courts must take note.”
Trinamool Congress General Secretary Abhishek Bandyopadhyay asked other leaders to bring evidence of voter intimidation by party members, The Telegraph reported. “We will take action within 24 hours.”
In ward 22, BJP’s Meena Devi Purohit alleged that she had been attacked by Trinamool Congress workers. The ruling party refuted the allegations.
In ward 45, the Congress alleged the Trinamool Congress brought fake voters and a scuffle broke out between the two parties. The Congress also alleged that Amitabha Chakraborti, the election agent of Congress councillor Santosh Pathak, was beaten up by Trinamool Congress workers inside a booth.
The CPI(M) activists put up a road blockade in Bagha Jatin area, alleging that their polling agents were not being allowed inside the booths.
A complaint was lodged with district magistrate of South 24 Parganas about rival poll agents being forced out of 30 booths in Kolkata, The Telegraph reported.
The Trinamool Congress had warned its members not to engage in violence and announced that those found guilty would be thrown out of the party.
“The incidents of hurling crude bombs and violence in some areas prove that TMC’s instruction to its candidates was just on pen and paper and nothing was implemented on the ground,” CPI(M) leader Sayandeep Mitra said on Sunday.
Trinamool Congress leader Partha Bhowmick claimed that “polling has been peaceful” in all the wards. He added that those who hurled bombs would be “identified and arrested” by the police.
A total of 1,139 polling booths have been declared sensitive, The Indian Express reported.
Meanwhile, several political leaders were seen casting their votes.
After voting, Governor Jagdeep Dhankar said that peaceful voting was extremely important for voting without any fear.
“I told state Election Commissioner to make necessary arrangements for peaceful voting and to ensure no state intervention,” he said.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said that the voters will “bless” his party for the work it has done in the last 10 years.
“Making promises and delivering promises are two different things,” he said. “The prime minister is very good at making promises but he is even better at breaking promises.”
The Trinamool Congress is contesting to retain the civic board for the third consecutive time. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are also in the fray.
A police officer told PTI that about 23,000 personnel have been deployed across the city. Route marches and area domination exercises were being conducted. He said that over 200 police pickets have also been set up at crucial points across Kolkata for Sunday’s polls.
“We want to ensure that the elections are totally peaceful and we have strengthened vigil in Kolkata, Salt Lake, Howrah, and North and South 24 Parganas districts for that purpose,” the police official added.
In the run-up to the polls, the BJP had filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding that Central Armed Police Force personnel be deployed during the elections. The Supreme Court, however, had refused to entertain the plea and told the party to approach the Calcutta High Court.
The BJP had also filed a petition to stay the civic body polls. However, on Wednesday, the Calcutta High Court had refused to stop the elections.