FIR lodged against BJP's Rupa Ganguly as violence rocks fourth phase of West Bengal Assembly polls

The fourth phase of West Bengal assembly elections saw many violent incidents on Monday. 

FIR lodged against BJP's Rupa Ganguly as violence rocks fourth phase of West Bengal Assembly polls
Pic courtesy: ANI

Kolkata: The fourth phase of West Bengal assembly elections saw many violent incidents on Monday.

As 52 percent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the first six hours in 49 constituencies of Howrah and North 24 Parganas bordering Kolkata, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against BJP’s Rupa Ganguly after an alleged scuffle with a TMC worker at a polling booth in Howrah.

According to news agency ANI, a police case was registered against the BJP's star candidate Rupa Ganguly today for assaulting a woman voter and preventing her from casting her ballot in the West Bengal assembly elections

Ganguly earlier faced angry protests and heckling by alleged Trinamool Congress activists in her constituency during the fourth phase of the assembly polls.

The actress-turned politician alleged "rampant booth capturing" and voter intimidation by Trinamool goons in her constituency.

"Since morning, I have been getting complaints of our voters being intimidated and polling agents being assaulted and driven out of the booths. When I tried to intervene and asked the polling officials to intervene, Trinamool goons surrounded and bad-mouthed me," said Ganguly.

During her visit to one of the booths in Salkia, the actress faced noisy protests with many of them accusing her of forcing her way into the booth and disrupting the poll process. In the midst of the arguments, Ganguly was seen slapping Soma Das.

"All these protests and heckling are being done with the single motive of preventing me from reaching out to the booths. Even police are sending central security forces after me to ensure that the booths remain unmanned and the Trinamool can cast false votes," she said, adding that the BJP would file a complaint with the Election Commission (EC).

Ganguly was unperturbed even after she was told of the police case against her.

"I have been told a police case has been registered against me. But nothing has been done against those who abused and heckled me -- a candidate -- and (those who) indulged in electoral malpractices."

Rejecting her charges, Trinamool Congress candidate and retired cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla in turn accused Ganguly of influencing voters.

"Voting has been peaceful and there is no report of any malpractices. In fact, it's she who is trying to influence voters and disrupting the poll process. The party has initiated a complaint against her with the EC," said Shukla.

Roopa Ganguly became a household name in the country in the 1980s and 1990s for playing the role of Draupadi in BR Chopra's tele-serial "Mahabharat".

She joined the Bharatiya Janata Party last year.

Later, the poll panel has sought a report from Howrah district officials on the actress turned politician's movements.

In other incidents of violence, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Tanmoy Bhattacharya (North Dum Dum) sustained injuries in stone-pelting on his car by alleged Trinamool activists.

Following a complaint by Bhattacharya, three people were arrested, said a police officer, as per IANS.

Left Front-Congress alliance backed Independent candidate Pratima Dutta, wife of murdered green activist Tapan Dutta, alleged her polling agents were driven out or not allowed to enter the booths in her constituency Domjur in Howrah.

A bomb attack was also reported from a booth in Belgharia's Jatin Das Nagar.

North 24 Parganas, a part of which falls under the world's largest mangrove forests -- the Sundarbans -- has 33 constituencies. The remaining 16 are in Howrah.

Over 1.08 crore voters across 12,481 polling stations, including 27 auxiliary booths, were eligible today to decide the fate of 345 candidates, including 40 women.

The Election Commission has used 14,353 electronic voting machines (EVM) and 680 Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

A total of 672 companies of central forces and 23,000 state police personnel were deployed to ensure free and fair polls in the two districts in view of past political clashes and poll-related disturbances.

In the 2011 polls, the Trinamool -- then an ally of the Congress -- bagged 43 of the 49 seats. The Congress got two, the Communist Party of India-Marxist three and the Communist Party of India one.

(With Agency inputs)