Kolkata: Over 20 people were injured in clashes between rival political groups as over one crore voters cast their ballot in the first six hours in West Bengal's 17 parliamentary constituencies where polling is under way on Monday.
The opposition political parties accused the ruling Trinamool of unleashing violence to intimidate voters in various areas. They also claimed that a number of their polling agents were driven out of the booths. The Trinamool denied the allegations.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Pic / AFP
"Till 1 p.m., 56.38 percent polling has been recorded," an official said.
Some of the injured, said to be CPI-M activists, accused the Trinamool of orchestrating the attack and claimed four of them received bullet injuries.
The ruling party in the state, however, rubbished the allegations and claimed 11 of its own activists sustained injuries.
"We have received information about a clash in Haroa, in which 20 people are said to be injured," said a police officer but denied anyone received bullet injuries.
One of the injured said around 200 of them - all CPI-M supporters - were on their way to cast their votes in Brahmanchak village when they were attacked.
"We were going to the polling booth when around 30-40 men, all Trinamool activists, attacked us with weapons, including guns," said Ruma Mandal, one of the injured who was admitted to a hospital.
Another injured, Tutul Mandal, said at least four of them received bullet injuries and most of the injured lay bleeding for hours before police eventually carried them to a hospital.
The Trinamool blamed the CPI-M for the incident.
"In Haroa, CPI-M's former panchayat head Dinabandhu Mandal was behind this clash, in which 11 of our workers were injured," Trinamool spokesperson Derek O'Brien said.