Bhatpara violence: Two cars parked in the area were set ablaze.


Ahead of the last phase of the marathon Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, clashes broke out between BJP and Trinamool Congress workers in Bhatpara, a constituency where Assembly bypolls are due on Sunday.

Gunshots rang, bombs were hurled and two vehicles were set on fire in Bhatpara, around 40km from Kolkata, after a BJP leader Arjun Singh was allegedly shot at in the area. Two cars parked in the area were set ablaze.

Both parties blamed each other for the attack. The ruling Trinamool Congress claimed outsiders were brought into the area by the BJP who were allegedly behind the violence.

The two main contenders in the North 24 Parganas district are Madan Mitra of the Trinamool Congress and Pawan Singh of the BJP.

Arjun Singh, the BJP leader who was shot at today, is the father of Pawan Singh. Arjun Singh had resigned from the Bhatpara seat and decided to contest as a BJP candidate from the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency.

Three years after his release from prison as an accused in the Saradha chit fund scam, Madan Mitra, a former minister in the Bengal government, was nominated by the Trinamool from Bhatpara. Mr Mitra’s name had also figured in the alleged Narada tapes scam.

Bengal has been marred by violence since the beginning of the elections. The state votes in all seven phases and a bitter battle has ensured in the polling season between Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Tuesday, the smashing of a statue of 19th century Bengal reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar sparked a massive outrage in the state and in political circles across the country.

Both BJP and Trinamool pointed fingers at each other for the vandalism and the blame-game continued in speeches of Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and PM Modi.

Bhatpara goes to the polls on Sunday in the last phase along with Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, South, and North Kolkata. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.

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