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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

Bypolls: Sporadic violence reported in Uttarakhand, West Bengal

BJP candidates Manoj Kumar Biswas and Binay Kumar Biswas from Ranaghat Dakshin and Badgah respectively claimed they were not allowed to visit some booths

PTI New Delhi Published 10.07.24, 04:05 PM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture.

Moderate to brisk polling was recorded in 13 assembly constituencies across seven states where bypolls were underway on Wednesday amid sporadic incidents of violence in Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Voting began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.

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The electoral exercise, the first since the Lok Sabha polls, will decide the fate of many veterans and some debutantes, including Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu's wife Kamlesh Thakur.

The bypolls are being held against vacancies created either due to deaths or resignation of incumbent members.

Barring Uttarakhand and West Bengal, polling has been peaceful in the rest of the states so far.

In Uttarakhand's Manglaur constituency, four party supporters were injured in a clash between workers of different political parties at a polling booth.

Some reports claimed there was firing at the booth too. However, police denied the reports.

Purported videos of the clash on social media showed Congress candidate and former MLA Qazi Nizamuddin taking a man in bloodstained clothes to the hospital. He accused the BJP of throttling democracy by sowing seeds of hatred. Another video showed him embracing an injured party worker at the hospital and crying aloud.

Violence erupted at the booth when some people with half their faces covered entered the booth and started stopping people from casting their votes, sources said.

Several Congress leaders, including former chief minister Harish Rawat, Leader of opposition in the state assembly Yashpal Arya and Congress MP from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh Imran Masood condemned the violence, saying it had never happened in Uttarakhand before.

While 43.88 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise in Manglaur till 1 pm, Badrinath reported 33.08 percent.

The Manglaur bypoll was necessitated by the death of sitting BSP MLA Sarwat Karim Ansari in October last year while the Badrinath seat fell vacant after sitting Congress MLA Rajendra Bhandari resigned and switched to the BJP in March this year. In West Bengal, violence was reported in Bagdah and Ranaghat Dakshin as the BJP accused TMC activists of assaulting its booth agents and stopping its candidates from visiting some polling stations.

BJP candidates Manoj Kumar Biswas and Binay Kumar Biswas from Ranaghat Dakshin and Badgah respectively claimed they were not allowed to visit some booths.

The TMC denied the allegations and dubbed them as "baseless".

The BJP has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against these incidents.

A voter turnout of 38.28 per cent was recorded till 1 PM in the bypolls to four assembly constituencies in the state.

Among the constituencies, Ranaghat Dakshin witnessed the highest turnout at 42.19 per cent, followed by Raiganj at 41.38 per cent, Bagdah at 35.66 per cent and Maniktala at 33.37 per cent.

In Himachal Pradesh, a voter turnout of about 48 per cent was recorded till 1 pm in the bypolls in three assembly constituencies.

The Nalagarh assembly constituency recorded the highest polling of 51.59 per cent, followed by Hamirpur (47.05 per cent) and Dehra (46.47 per cent), according to data till 1 pm shared by the state election department.

The seats fell vacant after the three independent legislators Hoshiyar Singh (Dehra), Ashish Sharma (Hamirpur) and K L Thakur (Nalagarh), who had voted in favour of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls held on February 27, resigned from the House on March 22.

In Punjab, the bypoll to the Jalandhar West assembly segment saw a voter turnout of 34.40 per cent till 1 pm.

At many polling stations, plants were given to voters who exercised their franchise.

The ruling AAP has fielded Mohinder Bhagat, the son of former minister and former BJP MLA Bhagat Chunni Lal. Bhagat had joined the AAP after quitting the BJP last year.

The Congress has placed its bet on Surinder Kaur, who is the former senior deputy mayor and five-time municipal councillor in Jalandhar. She is a prominent Dalit leader of the Ravidassia community.

The BJP has fielded Angural, who switched sides in March after quitting the AAP. He had won this seat in the 2022 Punjab assembly polls on an AAP ticket.

In Bihar, a voter turnout of 39.36 per cent was recorded till 1 pm in the bypoll to Rupauli Assembly seat.

The bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of sitting MLA Bima Bharti, who won the seat for JD(U) several times in the past, but quit the party to contest the Lok Sabha elections on a RJD ticket. Following her loss in the parliamentary election, she contested in the bypoll as an RJD candidate.

Brisk polling was witnessed in the bypoll to Vikravandi assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu with voters queuing up in large numbers at polling stations to exercise their franchise.

The bypoll was necessitated by the demise of DMK legislator N Pughazhendhi.

It is a triangular contest in Vikravandi with ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's candidate Anniyur Siva (alias Sivashanmugam A) pitted against Pattali Makkal Katchi's (PMK) C Anbumani and Naam Tamilar Katchi's K Abinaya.

Polling also is underway in Amarwara in Madhya Pradesh.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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