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The rigging machine
- Instances of alleged booth capture, intimidation and assault during the third phase of polling in Bengal on Wednesday

Tactics that Bengal was once familiar with but had taken a backseat in recent elections allegedly reared their head on Wednesday, especially in Birbhum and Burdwan. The following list has been drawn up on the basis of conversations with villagers, police sources and polling agents

Intimidation: Three to four days before polling, groups have been going to the houses of known CPM supporters and warning them not to step out of their homes on the day of voting. On Thursday, whenever known CPM supporters approached polling booths, they were warned not to proceed. Several such groups of disappointed and frightened CPM supporters were seen huddled under trees near the polling stations. Bombs were also hurled at several booths to keep away CPM supporters

Source: Based on conversations with several villagers

Booth capture: Several booths where central forces were not present were taken over by groups that cast votes as they pleased. The takeover was easy because the presiding officers were from the same constituency in several instances and could easily be intimidated

Agent eviction: Polling agents were beaten up and driven away from several booths. Thereafter, the assailants took control of the booths and pointed to the voters the button they should press

Booth jamming: A time-tested method but not used much this time. Several workers lined up at booths to form long queue so that genuine voters get frustrated and leave. The votes were then cast by the intruders

Seat:Birbhum in Birbhum district

Booth capture

Hason: 2 booths

What happened: People intimidated and told to vote in favour of Trinamul in the absence of central forces and CPM polling agents

Suri: 2 booths

What happened: No CPM polling agents allowed to enter the booths and voters were warned in front of police that they should vote Trinamul. The state forces did not disperse the Trinamul workers who had gathered inside and outside the booths

Dubrajpur: 1 booth

What happened: Many

Opposition party voters in Loba told they must not leave their homes during polling hours. Trinamul workers kept vigil in the village on motorbikes

Assault

Place: Sadaipur

What happened: CPM worker Sheikh Majibul Molla was beaten up allegedly by Trinamul workers when he was on his way to vote. Molla was admitted to Suri sadar hospital with a serious head injury

Allegation made by: Kamre Elahi, the CPM candidate. He said: “In these 5 booths, votes were looted. We have demanded repolling in these booths.”

Trinamul reaction: “Everything is fine...Voting was peaceful in Birbhum,” said Anubrata Mondal, the district Trinamul president

Vandalism

Place: Nalhati

What happened: A Trinamul camp office ransacked by alleged CPM activists

Allegation made by: Trinamul block president of Nalhati-II Bibhas Adhikary.

CPM reaction: A party leader in Nalhati said: “It is Trinamul which attacked its own camp office because they wanted to create a scene. They know that people of Nalhati are not with them.”

Seat: Bolpur in Birbhum district

Booth capture

Ketugram: 63 booths

What happened: Crude bombs hurled in front of booths to drive away voters. After voters ran away, polling agents of CPM thrashed and pushed out of the booths. Trinamul workers allegedly pressed the EVM button according to their will in front of polling officials

Ausgram: 62 booths

What happened: No CPM polling agent turned up after alleged threats three days ago. People told to vote Trinamul

Mangalkot: 60 booths

What happened: CPM polling agents prevented from entering booths. Trinamul workers kept watch on the area on motorbikes and told people to vote for Trinamul

Bolpur: 55 booths

What happened: CPM agents thrown out of booths after they complained of false voting by Trinamul activists

Nanoor: 94 booths

What happened: Local CPM leaders and polling agents driven out of the area on Tuesday night. Largescale false voting reported

Labhpur: 8 booths

What happened: Bombs hurled outside booths to terrorise voters as well as rivals of Trinamul

Mayureswar: 1 booth

lWhat happened: Two CPM polling agents driven out of booth. Mob outside booth warned voters that they must vote Trinamul

Assault

Place: Ketugram

What happened: CPM agent Montu Mian beaten up allegedly by Trinamul workers when he was on his way to polling booth in Ankhona village. Three other villagers suffered injuries in Agardanga after bombs were thrown by Trinamul activists

Place: Ausgram

lWhat happened: CPM worker Sushanta Pramanik suffered splinter injuries after crude bombs were hurled allegedly by Trinamul activists in front of a booth in Haribati

Place: Bolpur

What happened: Wasim Iqbal, son of CPM polling agent Mashiur Iqbal, beaten up after he refused to take his father away from the booth in Illambazar. Iqbal lodged a complaint with police

Four polling agents thrashed on their way to booths in Joydev, near Illambazar. All in

llambazar block hospital

Two voters beaten up allegedly by the Trinamul workers in Parui, near Bolpur, soon after they came out after voting. The attackers suspected they had voted CPM

Allegation made by: CPM candidate Ramchandra Dome. “It appears that the ruling party in the state has run the machinery for holding the polls. They did whatever they wanted in the absence of the Election Commission. We have demanded repolling in all the booths where voters were intimidated,” he said.

Trinamul reaction: “It (Bolpur) is the place of Tagore. Such things do not happen here. All allegations are false,” said Anubrata Mondal, district Trinamul president.

Place: Mayureswar

What happened: Trinamul supporter Pijush Kanti Dey attacked allegedly by CPM activists while on his way to vote in Kamarhati village

CPM reaction: Not available

Seat:Burdwan-Durgapur, Burdwan district

Booth capture

Bhatar: 31 booths

What happened: No CPM agent allowed inside booths. Voters threatened by Trinamul workers

Manteswar: 15 booths

What happened: All CPM agents allegedly driven out of booths.

CPM supporters prevented from voting

Burdwan (north): 44 booths

What happened: CPM workers threatened with dire consequences. Polling agents of CPM driven out of the booths

Galsi: 27 booths

What happened: Bombs hurled by Trinamul workers to create terror. Voters intimidated after CPM polling agents were pushed out of booths

Dugapur East: 4 booths

What happened: Voters threatened outside booths. Allegation of rampant false voting. Several people could not vote as they found somebody had already voted on their behalf

Assault

Burdwan: Former CPM councillor of Burdwan Municipal Corporation Adhikram Sanyal attacked while going to polling booth in Burdwan (South) Assembly segment. He was driven out of the booth

Galsi: 5 CPM workers injured after Trinamul workers allegedly hurled bombs at them. All injured admitted to a Burdwan hospital where their condition is stated to be critical

Allegation made by: Saidul Haque, the CPM candidate. “Despite repeated requests, no central force was deployed in the booths where Trinamul had a free run in the last panchayat polls. We have demanded repolling in these booths,” he said.

Trinamul Reaction: “Voting was peaceful in Burdwan. All allegations are baseless,” said Swapan Debnath, minister of state for land reforms.

Seat: Burdwan (East), Burdwan district

Booth capture

Memari: 36 booths

What happened: CPM agents told to leave booths as soon as polling started. Trinamul workers entered booths and ask voters to press the button for Trinamul

Kalna: 2 booths

What happened: No CPM agents allowed inside booths

Purbasthali (south): 30 booths

What happened: Trinamul supporters squatted in front of the booths after CPM agents were driven out. Voters threatened that they must vote Trinamul

Purbasthali (North): 2 booths

What happened: CPM agents driven out of booths.

Jamalpur: 71 booths

What happened: CPM agents driven out of booths. Voters intimidated. No central forces.

Assault

Place: Manteswar

Three CPM workers — Tarun Ghosh, Chinmoy ghosh, Subir Das — attacked allegedly by Trinamul workers. All in a local hospital.

Allegation made by: Amal Halder, CPM district secretary. “People could not exercise their democratic rights in these areas because of booth capturing by Trinamul. We have demanded repolling in all these booths,” he said.

Trinamul reaction: “Our people worked hard to make the vote peaceful. Some untoward incident took place as the CPM tried to intimidate voters,” said Swapan Debnath

Seat: Arambagh, Hooghly district

False voting

What happened: Trinamul panchayat member Jharna Singha was seen pushing the button on behalf of a voter in Arambagh. The Election Commission has lodged a complaint with police

Trinamul reaction: Swapan Nandi, block Trinamul president of Arambagh, said: “We have heard she had helped her elderly mother-in-law who can’t see well. We are collecting details of what happened.” Jharna Singha could not be contacted for comment

Violence

11 people injured after CPM and the Trinamul supporters attack each other in front of a booth. Both parties allege they were opposing a bid to capture the booth