MP Bypoll Bedlam: Masked Bikers Open Fire at Booth in Sumawali Seat, Half a Dozen Booths See Violence

For Representation. (Reuters/File photo)

For Representation. (Reuters/File photo)

There were several incidents of shots being fired, with polling being hampered at Jauri village. Congress leaders said they had lodged complaints with authorities and also alleged inaction.


Vivek Trivedi

Tension gripped the Sumawali assembly seat in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh as violence was reported from half a dozen areas including Jauri village which saw repeated incidents of firing.

Early in the morning, shots were fired at booth no. 241 in Sumawali, in which a man was injured. The incident took place at Pachauri Ka Pura where BJP and Congress workers clashed and exchange of fire took place leading to an injury to one Rambaghel Kushwah.

Polling was hampered as some motorcycle-borne masked men openly flashed country-made pistols and also fired shots in the air in village Jauri in Sumawali early in the day. The incident was caught on CCTV cameras. A local youth also uploaded a video on social media in which gunshots could be heard and locals were running here and there out of fear.

The Congress candidate, Ajab Singh Kushwah, claimed that the collector and superintendent of police did not act on repeated complaints. “If re-polling is not done, Congress will launch an aggressive protest,” he threatened.

Firing was also reported from Pathakpura and Piparsa areas.

The Congress has complained to the district election officer and the Election Commission over the firing incident.

As the News18 MP team was returning to the Pathakpura polling booth, it encountered a group of armed men who opened fire on the team. However, no one was hurt in the incident.

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh too had claimed that the party repeatedly complained to authorities prior to polling but nothing happened which led to violence. “They can fire shots but can’t press button on EVMs, so we are not worried,” said Singh.

Other areas in Gwalior-Chambal, known for a passion for guns and violence, reported disorder as well. At the Sondha polling booth in Mehgaon in Bhind, firing took place after efforts were made to prevent fake voting. The police chased away the miscreants firing shots in the air to intimidate voters. SP Manoj Singh reached the spot with his force and recovered empty cartridges from there.

Tension had gripped the Gwalior East seat as Congress candidate Satish Sikarwar had heated arguments with the BJP district president Devesh Sharma.

At Bhind’s Mahgaon, Yogesh Katare, elder brother of Congress candidate Hemant Katare, was arrested by police leading to tension in the area. Katare, not being a voter of the constituency, was roaming around there.

At Gohad seat in Bhind, the administration, fearing law-and-order trouble during polling, had placed BJP candidate Ranveer Jatav, Congress candidate Mewaram Jatav and BSP’s Yashwant Patwari at the PWD guesthouse.

Till 5pm, the Agar seat saw maximum polling of 80.49% and violence-ridden Sumawali in Morena saw a dismal turnout of just 41.79%. Polling continued till 6pm as the EC had given an additional hour in the wake of the Covid-19 threat.

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