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Third phase concludes without major incidents

Third phase concludes without major incidents

Kolkata: The third phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections concluded peacefully in Bengal, barring a few stray incidents in some places.

A middle-aged person from Bhagwangola in Murshidabad, identified as Tiyarul Seikh, was killed after he was caught in a clash that broke out between the supporters of Congress and Trinamool Congress. The Election Commission is yet to ascertain if it was a poll related incident or not.

Abu Hena, the Congress candidate from Murshidabad constituency, claimed the victim was their party worker while senior Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim termed the incident the result of a family dispute.

Seikh was going to cast his vote on Tuesday morning, along with his family members at Ranitala area. He was suddenly caught in a clash between the two parties and received several injuries in his body.

He was declared brought dead after being taken to Lalbagh Sub-Divisional Hospital. Three others, including his son, sustained injuries in the incident as well.

Ariz Aftab, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state, said: "One person was killed in a clash between two groups outside the polling premise of Baligram Primary School. On the basis of the complaint registered by the victim's daughter, police have started a specific case against six persons, three of whom have already been arrested. We are yet to confirm if it was a poll related incident."

Aftab also said that the election was peaceful, barring a few stray incidents. The CEO's office has sought a report from the District Election Officer of Murshidabad in this regard.

Elections were conducted in five Lok Sabha constituencies of Bengal, namely Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad on Tuesday and the overall polling percentage in these constituencies remained at 78.97 till 5 pm. The polling began at 6 am and ended at 6 pm.

Enthusiastic voters queued up outside polling booths in all the constituencies, braving the scorching summer heat. According to an EC official, Balurghat recorded 80.98 voting percentage till 5 pm, with Malda North registering 76.43, Malda South 77.45, Jangipur 78.58 and Murshidabad 81.41.

As the day progressed, some incidents of violence were reported from some places. The voting process was suspended in various polling stations at Malda North, Malda South, Murshidabad and Balurghat, due to malfunctioning of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). Within 20 minutes of the election starting, miscreants beat up a Trinamool Congress councillor and hurled a bomb at her husband, around 300 meters away from a booth in ward 7 at Domkal.

In a separate incident, miscreants hurled bombs outside booths 47 and 48 at Raninagar in Murshidabad. A presiding officer at a polling booth in Malda North's Ratua was removed after some complaints of booth jamming surfaced.

Trinamool Congress and Congress activists attacked each other with bamboo sticks outside booth number 188 in the Bhagwangola Assembly segment of Murshidabad constituency. A Trinamool Congress Panchayat member and a few Congress workers were injured in the incident.

Altogether, 324 companies of Central Forces were deployed for the third phase, covering over 92 percent of the polling stations across the five constituencies. Siddh Nath Gupta, ADG (Law and order), said around 232 persons have been arrested for creating trouble. Two bombs were recovered from Domkal. A total of 4 FIRs have been started for poll related violence.

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