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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Amid high turnout in Murshidabad, CPM's Mohammad Salim helps nab three 'fake agents planted by Trinamul'

Till 5 pm, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad had recorded 73.93% voting; no reports of largescale violence from anywhere, but there were complaints of voter intimidation and the occasional use of country-made bombs

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 07.05.24, 07:41 PM
Security forces personnel disperse miscreants near a polling station during the 3rd phase of Lok Sabha polls, in Murshidabad district.

Security forces personnel disperse miscreants near a polling station during the 3rd phase of Lok Sabha polls, in Murshidabad district. PTI picture.

The CPM on Tuesday put up a brave front during the third phase of polling in Bengal as the party nominee from the Murshidabad Lok Sabha seat, Mohammad Salim, went from booth to booth to ensure the party’s polling agents could perform their task without fear and, in the process, helped nab three "fake agents" whom the party alleged were planted by the ruling Trinamul Congress.

Till 5 pm, the four Lok Sabha seats – Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad - in Bengal had polled 73.93 per cent votes. Murshidabad had polled 76.49 per cent, the highest amongst all the four constituencies, followed by 73.68 per cent in Malda South. The other two constituencies, Malda North and Jangipur, recorded 73.30 per cent and 72.13 per cent voter turnout, respectively.

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Though there were no reports of largescale violence from any of the four constituencies, there were reports of complaints of voter intimidation and the occasional use of country-made bombs.

Earlier in the day, Salim caught three “fake” polling agents who were impersonating as CPM representatives. They had been allegedly planted by the Trinamul Congress in three different booths in the constituency he is contesting from. In some other areas he had to confront Trinamul workers who were allegedly engaged in voter intimidation.

By 5.30 pm, the CPM had lodged 163 complaints, the most from any party, with the Election Commission. The bulk of complaints came from Murshidabad and Jangipur.

Salim, contesting his fifth parliamentary polls, was on the move throughout the day, visiting booths one after the other to ensure CPM polling agents were at their respective positions and voters – many of whom did not get to vote in the panchayat polls – could reach the booths.

“We had set up a war room to monitor the poll process. From wherever we got information of the Trinamul not allowing our agents to sit, Salim da rushed,” said a CPM leader from Raninagar, a part of the Murshidabad Lok Sabha seat.

In three booths, two in Raninagar and one in Domkal, official CPM polling agents were chased away and their places taken by impersonators with allegedly forged documents.

“One of them claimed to be our party cadre. When he was challenged that the official polling agent was someone else, he begged for forgiveness,” the CPM leader said. “They claimed some local Trinamul leaders had instructed them to sign the papers and take the place of our polling agents.

The first fake agent was caught at a booth in Raninagar’s Gopinathpur, followed by another one around two hours later in Keshabpur. The third one was caught in the afternoon at Domkal’s Mominpur.

All three were handed over to the police.

Trinamul supporters in Raninagar shouted “go back” slogans at Salim, following which there was a scuffle between him and a local Trinamul worker. A similar scuffle also broke out between Dhananjay Ghosh, the BJP candidate from Jangipur and the Trinamul’s local unit head, Gautam Ghosh, at a booth in Suti.

In Malda South, Congress nominee Isha Khan Chowdhury had lodged a complaint with the EC that the Trinamul was allegedly spreading fake letters and messages on WhatsApp to influence voters. While polling was on, BJP nominee Srirupa Mitra Chowdhury accused Englishbazar Municipality Chairman of the Trinamul Congress Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury of trying to influence voters. She also objected to the presence of state police personnel inside polling booths.

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