The second phase of polling in the Lok Sabha Elections was marred by massive violence in North Dinajpur’s Chopra area on Thursday. The voters in the area alleged that the Trinamool Congress workers had blocked the National Highway 31 and were stopping them from casting their ballots. Crude bombs were allegedly hurled in Chopra, which falls under Darjeeling constituency. Bengal BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said that the area is filled with anti-social elements. He also alleged that Congress and BJP workers died in the past and nobody reported about it. “We have informed the Election Commission. No arrangements were made for the voter’s safety,” Ghosh told News Nation. “State police is working at the behest of the ruling Trinamool Congress. If adequate measures are not taken, we will take to the streets to protest,” Ghosh added.
In another incident, CPM leader Md Salim’s car was attacked near a polling booth in Raiganj constituency. Salim had gone to check the booth after he got reports of some suspicious activity. Soon after, his car was attacked. Some unidentified men hurled stones at his car. But Salim was not in the car at the moment. Fearing for his life, the driver of the car fled from the area. The CPM leader took shelter inside the polling booth. The Election Commission has also sought report on this incident. An EVM was also damaged in Chopra. The ground reports say that the central forces have reached Chopra. Darjeeling and Raiganj are two out 42 seats that are voting the second phase of polling in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal.
Key contests of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections Phase 2 in West Bengal
1. Darjeeling (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: SS Ahluwalia, Margin: 1,97,239) 2019 candidates: Raju Singh Bisht (BJP) Vs Shankar Malakar (Congress) Vs Amar Singh Rai (Trinamool) Vs Saman Pathak (CPM)
The BJP will be facing a tough task to retain Darjeeling this time after the split in the GJM. The party won the seat in 2009 and 2014 with the GJM's backing. Jaswant Singh won the seat in 2009 whereas SS Ahluwalia retained it for the party in 2014. However, the saffron party has fielded Raju Singh Bisht to take on Trinamool's Amar Singh Rai and CPM's Saman Pathak. In the last seven elections, the CPM won the seat thrice in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
2. Raiganj (2014 Result: CPM, Winner: Md Salim, Margin: 1,634)2019 candidates: Deepa Dasmunshi (Congress) Vs Kanaia Lal Agarwal (Trinamool) Vs Md Salim (CPM) Vs Deboshree Chaudhary (BJP)
In 2014, Raiganj was one of the two seats won by the CPM in the state. Party's Md Salim defeated Congress candidate and Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi's wife Deepa Dasmunshi in a very close contest with over 1,600 votes. Salim will be facing Deepa again this time with BJP's Deboshree Chaudhary and Trinamool's KL Agarwal are also in the fray. Priyaranjan Dasmunshi won the seat twice in 1999 and 2004.