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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

Locket spat with Asima becomes talk of Hooghly during fifth phase of Lok Sabha polls

While Locket repeatedly shouted 'thief' at Asima, the TMC MLA retaliated by calling her a 'dacoit' as both stood within a few meters of a polling booth

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 21.05.24, 08:44 AM
Seven constituencies in Bengal, including Hooghly, voted on Monday during the fifth phase of the general election.

Seven constituencies in Bengal, including Hooghly, voted on Monday during the fifth phase of the general election. File image

BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee and Trinamool Congress MLA Asima Patra traded barbs on Monday as a group of Trinamool workers gheraoed the BJP leader, accusing her of not visiting the area during her tenure as the Hooghly MP.

The two women leaders of rival camps reportedly continued their war of words for about half an hour on Monday afternoon in Muidipur village of Hooghly's Dhaniakhali.

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While Locket repeatedly shouted "thief" at Asima, the TMC MLA retaliated by calling her a "dacoit" as both stood within a few meters of a polling booth.

Seven constituencies in Bengal, including Hooghly, voted on Monday during the fifth phase of the general election. Trinamool has pitted actress Rachana Banerjee against Locket this time. Rachana and Locket were contemporaries in Tollywood.

"The situation could have turned violent if the police had not arrived in time and intervened," said a resident of Dhaniakhali.

Locket left the spot following a request by the police.

A source said that Locket, who was visiting various booths in her constituency, suddenly arrived at Muidipur village in Dhaniakhali — Asima's home and a known Trinamool stronghold.

Locket entered the booth and started checking the identities of some youths. She then accused Asima of rigging.

As soon as Locket came out of the booth, around 50 Trinamool workers, mostly women, surrounded her with "go-back" slogans.

"Why did you not visit this area since you won the 2019 election? Now you have come to disturb the election process. We don't want you here," a woman said. Many others joined her in a chorus, calling Locket a thief.

A source said the situation turned volatile as soon as Asima reached the spot and accused Locket of disturbing voters and her party colleagues. Asima chased Locket and asked her to leave the place.

"Why did she (Locket) enter the camp office of Trinamool, 200 metres away from the polling booth?" asked Asima, before shouting go-back slogans.

Locket suddenly started shouting "thief, thief! Asima is a thief," which intensified the tension. "If I am a thief, then she is a dacoit," said the MLA.

Locket accused Asima of being the woman behind all the violence and malpractice in Dhaniakhali and claimed that they shouted go-back slogans because she prevented them from rigging the poll process.

"This is Asima Patra's booth, and last year there was rigging here. The rigging process was midway when I arrived. The police did not work properly here. They (Trinamool) gave go-back slogans because my presence prevented them from conducting malpractice," Locket told reporters.

Asima accused Locket of intentionally disturbing the polling process.

"In 2019, she came and ransacked the EVM here. She had such a plan this time too, but we prevented her," Asima said.

Earlier in the day, Locket dragged a Trinamool polling agent out of a booth in Dasghara, Dhaniakhali, accusing him of intimidating voters.

A senior BJP leader said that on polling day, it was part of Locket's strategy to focus on Dhaniakhali, a Trinamool stronghold in the Hooghly Lok Sabha constituency.

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