Lok Sabha Elections Phase 2: Controversies And Incidents
Phase two of the national elections took place on April 18th as part of the seven phase long process that will last across two months. Over 1,600 candidates are contesting on 95 seats in this phase.
Phase two of the national elections took place on April 18th as part of the seven phase long process that will last across two months. The election will conclude on May 19th while the results will be declared on May 12th. Over 1,600 candidates are contesting on 95 seats in this phase. Over two phases, a total of 186 seats have gone to the polls.
However, while phase two of voting occurred more or less normally, several incidents and controversies occurred, which marred the process. Here is what occurred in phase two:
Violence and West Bengal
Violence was witnessed in several places in West Bengal. Three seats went to the polls in phase two from the state, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raigunj. Clashes between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) were reported, along with attempts of booth capturing in villages in the interior region. In Raigunj, Electronic Voting Machines were also vandalised by miscreants. In both Darjeeling and Raigunj, groups of people blocked highways, claiming unknown miscreants did not allow them to vote. The police ended up lathi charging them to clear the road.
Apart from this, stones were thrown at the car of Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate Mohammad Salim in the Raigunj constituency. Salim is up against the Congress' sitting lawmaker Deepa Dasmunsi. “Trinamool-backed miscreants gathered within 100 meters of a polling station in Islampur's Patagara. They were trying to intimidate the voters. When I tried to go to there, they attacked my vehicle,” Salim told the media. The police, he said, “is not taking any action against the Trinamool goons”.
A BJP candidate from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh, Bhola Ram, was caught making a poll code violation. Singh, contesting against Bahujan Samaj Party's Yogesh Verma, was caught on camera stepping inside a polling booth with his supporters and asking people to vote for him. He also reportedly took selfies inside the polling booth. He told the security officials that he had the permission of the district magistrate and returning officer to do so, but it turned out not to be the case. The poll body confined Singh, who is seeking re-election from Bulandshahr, to his home till 6 pm on April 18th.
Clashes in Mandya
In Karnataka, where 14 constituencies went to polls on April 18th, clashes were witnessed between supporters of the Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Nikhil Kumaraswamy and those of the independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh in the Mandya constituency. A video of the event showed Nikhil greeting a crowd of his supporters from his car when the fight between the two groups broke out. Nikhil is the son of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and the grandson of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda. Sumalatha Ambareesh is the wife of late actor-politician Ambareesh, who was a three-time MLA from the district with the Congress. While the two parties are in alliance in the ongoing elections, this constituency has friction in the alliance with a big chunk of the Congress workers here putting their weight behind Sumalatha.
Missing button on EVMs
Polling in the Cuddalore Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu was suspended after the button for Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) candidate was found to be missing from EVMs. AMMK, founded by TTV Dhinakaran, fielded Kasi Thangavel from the seat.