Left, Congress say Trinamool supporters intimidated voters, candidates and polling agents
Stray incidents of violence were reported during the elections to six civic bodies in West Bengal that were held on Sunday, with both the Left and the Congress alleging that supporters of the Trinamool Congress intimidated not only candidates and polling agents of the other parties, but also voters in the course of the day.
The average voter turnout was 85. It was the highest at Cooper's Camp in Nadia district, at 93.28 per cent. The lowest turnout of 78 per cent was recorded in Durgapur, the town where there were allegations of violence.
The Left Front alleged that voting in several wards in Durgapur was successfully “rigged.” Biman Bose, chairman of the State Left Front Committee, told journalists that the Left would demand a re-poll in 29 wards.
However Tapas Roy, secretary of the West Bengal State Election Commission, said the Commission had not received any written requests for re-polling so far.
“After the 2011 Assembly polls, we had expected that a similar atmosphere of free and fair elections would be created. After the Assembly polls, there were no allegations levelled against any political party, the administration or the police. But that is not the case after these polls,” said Pradip Bhattacharya, president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee.
State BJP secretary alleged that poll observers, returning officers and the district administration did not act upon complaints.
Senior Trinamool Congress leaders dismissed all the allegations as “lies” and “canards” spread by the other parties.
“The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its senior leaders, who were joined in by those of the Congress, have been spreading canards against us. The BJP also joined in. But today's [Sunday] peaceful elections have proven that they were baseless,” said Suvendu Adhikari, Trinamool Congress MP from Tamluk in Purba Medinipur district.
The two municipalities in the district that went to the polls – Haldia and Paskura – were also witness to some incidents of violence.
“In every ward in Haldia, Trinamool supporters riding motorcycles carried out a campaign of driving fear into the minds of the voters,” claimed Mr. Bose.
Keywords: West Bengal civic polls