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Violence continues to mar Bengal polls, Cooch Behar reports maximum cases

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Kolkata, April 19 (IANS) Elections in Bengal have always seen violence, and the trend continued in the state where three Lok Sabha seats -- Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, and Alipurduar -- went to the polls in the first phase on Friday.

Cooch Behar reported maximum incidents of poll-related violence that continued till the closing hours of polling.

When state minister and Trinamool Congress legislator from Dinhata, Udayan Guha, reached the troubled Bhetaguri area within his constituency in the closing hours of polling, women activists of the BJP launched a protest after surrounding his vehicle.

They claimed that a local BJP leader was arrested without any reason following the instructions of the minister, a charge Guha denied.

The Trinamool MLA had to leave the sport under police protection.

On the other hand, Baren Chandra Barman, the BJP legislator from Sitalkuchi, which also falls under the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat, faced agitations by the Trinamool workers on Friday. The situation turned serious after the ruling party workers got engaged in a scuffle even as the BJP MLA was accompanied by CAPF personnel.

However, the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal, Ariz Aftab, maintained that barring some stray incidents of violence, polling was peaceful in all three constituencies.

“All the booths were covered by the central security forces. Web-casting was also done in all the booths. Barring some stray incidents, the polling process was more or less peaceful,” he said.

--IANS

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