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24 Apr 2018

Guns, bombs thwart rivals

Glass shards lie strewn in a CPM office after vandalism in Murshidabad’s Lalbagh. Picture by Chayan Majumdar
TT, Calcutta: Violence marred Monday's four-hour window for rural poll nominations, with Opposition candidates unable to submit papers in most places despite high court orders.

Tarak Saha, a BJP candidate for the Birbhum zilla parishad from Nanoor, braved a phalanx of 50 motorbikes chasing him to reach the Bolpur SDO's office to hand in his papers, but could not. "I had to take shelter in a shop to save myself from bullets and bombs," Saha said.

A CPM candidate attacked in a party office in Murshidabad’s Lalbagh. Picture by Chayan Majumdar 
In Birbhum's Suri, suspected Trinamul supporters clashed with BJP workers who arrived to file nominations. One person, Sheikh Dildar, died and both the parties claimed him as their supporter.

In Murshidabad's Samsherganj, bombs were thrown at Congress Lok Sabha member Abu Hasem Chowdhury's car. "The police were mute spectators while Trinamul goons bombed my car. I don't know how I escaped alive," said Chowdhury.

Similar incidents were reported from Burdwan, Purulia, Bankura and north Bengal. "Free and fair elections are impossible under Trinamul regime. President's rule might be necessary," state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.

Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said the Opposition "feared elections".

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