High polling in Bengal amidst charges of malpractices

The counting of votes will be held on November 2

October 30, 2021 11:47 am | Updated 07:58 pm IST - Kolkata

Female voters show their identity cards as they stand in a queue to cast their vote during Santipur by-polls, at a polling station in Nadia, October 30, 2021

Female voters show their identity cards as they stand in a queue to cast their vote during Santipur by-polls, at a polling station in Nadia, October 30, 2021

There was relatively high polling across the four Assembly constituencies in West Bengal that went to the polls on Saturday. Three of them recorded nearly 70 % polling by 5 p.m. The Santipur Assembly segment in Nadia recorded 76.14 % polling. It was followed by Gosaba in South 24 parganas that registered 75.91 %. Dinhata in Cooch Behar recorded 69.97 %, whereas Khardah in North 24 Parganas registered 63.90 % polling. Except Khardah, which is primarily an urban settlement, all the three other segments are rural in nature.

While there was no major incident of any violence, there were incidents of scuffle between supporters of political parties. Allegations of malpractices were raised by both the Opposition and ruling party. At Khardah, Trinamool Congress supporters blocked roads on allegations that security personnel of BJP candidate Joy Saha beat up Trinamool Congress supporters.

TMC candidate from the seat and Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay alleged that supporters Kajal Sinha, TMC MLA whose death has resulted in the bypoll, were injured in a baton charge by personnel of Central forces.

During the day, Mr. Saha was seen chasing a person, who he later handed over to the police claiming that the man was a fake voter.

Senior CPI(M) and leader and former MLA Tanmay Bhattacharya claimed that his car was attacked by TMC activists and he received injuries when he was entering the party office at Khardah.

The Trinamool Congress candidate of Dinhata, Udayan Guha, accused Union Minister of State for Home affairs Nisith Pramanik of entering a polling booth with armed guards in uniform.

Allegations were raised by the BJP that polling agents were threatened at Santipur and Dinhata.

Of the four seats, two were won by the TMC and two by the BJP in the Assembly polls held a few months ago. BJP MPs Nisith Pramanik and Jaganath Sarkar won Dinhata and Santipur but did not take oath as MLAs at the instructions of the party. Kajal Sinha and Gosaba MLA Jayanta Naskar died of COVID-19, resulting in the bypolls.

The counting of votes will be held on November 2.

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