The first phase of India's Parliamentary elections had its share of explosions, firearms, and bombs

The first phase of India's Parliamentary elections had its share of explosions, firearms, and bombs
People wait in a queue to cast their votes for the first phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, at a polling booth in Chhattisgarh's Bastar, on April 11, 2019. IANS

  • The first phase of the Indian general election saw multiple outbreaks of violence in different parts of the country.
  • At least two separate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were detonated, while others were caught before they could be triggered.
  • Andhra Pradesh was a hotbed of political clashes, which also resulted in the death of a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) members.
  • EVMs were also targets of violence where multiple attempts were made to destroy them, some of which were successful.
The first phase of the Indian general election isn’t off the best start. Multiple reports of violence have been reported in 20 states that were up for polling today. Although most of the incidents were centered Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chattisgarh.

One of the first reports of violence was an improvised explosive device (IED) attack allegedly by the Naxalites in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh but thankfully, there were no casualties. Similarly, another IED blast by Naxalites went off in the Waghezari area of the Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra. No casualties were reported their either.

An IED was also detected inside an old oil pipeline in Assam but it was removed before it could detonate.

Firearms were also seized from four guerrilla Naxalites in Bijapur of Chhattisgarh, while polling was still underway.

However, in Andhra Pradesh, clashes between leaders actually led to the death of Sidda Bhaskar Reddy — a local leader of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) — in Tadipatri. The opposition, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), is alleging that one of their party workers also died in the clashes but the police are yet to confirm.

While the TDP accused YSRCP of using violence in an attempt to win the elections, the YSRCP accused TDP was rigging votes and manipulating poll booths.

Clashes also broke out in other parts of the state like Eluru City where a YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) member was allegedly attacked by members of the TDP and Jammalamadugu of Kadapa district, where both parties were reportedly caught in a stoning match.

In another corner of Andhra Pradesh — the Narasaraopet constituency of Guntur — TDP workers were seen ransacking the polling booth and damaging the room.

People also tried to forcibly enter the polling booth in Kairana in Uttar Pradesh without their voter IDs compelling the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel to fire shots in the air in order to control the situation.

Madhusudhan Gupta from the Jana Sena Party was also arrested for being violent in one of the poll booths of Guntakal — another constituency in Andhra Pradesh — where he tried to destroy an electronic voting machine (EVM) that allegedly did not work properly.

And apparently, Gupta wasn’t the only one to attack an EVM. According to the election commission there have been six incidents in Andhra Pradesh, five in Arunachal Pradesh, one in Bihar, two in Manipur and one in West Bengal.

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