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Hills paint a peaceful picture on poll day

Hills paint a peaceful picture on poll day
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Darjeeling: With no reports of violence during polling, the Darjeeling Hills and Kalimpong painted a very different picture on Saturday

At 6:30 pm, Darjeeling recorded 67.32 per cent polling; Kurseong recorded 72.92 per cent; Matigara Naxalbari recorded 81.89 per cent; Siliguri recorded 75.70 per cent; Phansidewa recorded 84.17 per cent. Kalimpong had recorded 69 per cent at 5pm . Polling continued in some booths after 6:30 pm also.

"This election is historical in itself. So far there has been not a single incident of violence in the Hills. This resonates how we wanted this election to turn out. Democracy has returned to our Hills. I thank people for their support," stated Anit Thapa, General Secretary, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binoy faction.) There were some EVM problems in some places. "Owing to heavy rainfall on Friday some areas, specially in Kalimpong, electric supply had been disrupted. We lodged complaints so that electricity could be restored," added Tamang.

On a round of the booths the paths of BJP candidate Neeraj Zimba and Keshav Raj Pokhrel, GJM (Binoy) candidate for Darjeeling crossed. They were seen exchanging pleasantries.

Though Bimal Gurung, President, GJM (Bimal faction) and his wife Asha Gurung cast their votes, General Secretary, Roshan Giri could not. Incidentally following the 2017 agitation Gurung his wife along with Giri were declared absconders. Their names were also struck off from the electoral rolls.

"Two and a half months ago I had applied. The names of others have been reinstated except mine. I have an EPIC, Adhar Card and passport but I could not vote, " stated Giri. The day wore a festive look in the Hills. Shops and business establishments remained closed, as is the unwritten system in the Hills on election day.

In the plains of the district also there were no major incidents of violence. There were some complaints from the political parties in the fray in the plains.

TMC candidate and former tourism minister Gautam Deb complained that in a school in Gotiakhali in the Dabgram Fulbari constituency in Jalpaiguri, the BJP had set up a booth within 100m of the polling booth and was distributing voter slips issued by the ECI to voters and asking them to vote for BJP. "We informed the security personnel and the voter slips were seized. We have registered a formal complaint with the ECI also" added Deb.

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