Peaceful polling in Bengal, nearly 80 percent turnout
Except for a few stray clashes, the second day of the first phase of election passed off peacefully on Monday.
The election was held in 31 constituencies of which nine each were in Burdwan and Bankura while the remaining 13 were in West Midnapore. Polls were held in Narayangarh and Sabang, the constituencies of two heavyweights of the alliance, namely, Surya Kanta Mishra and Manas Bhuniya.
Braving oppressive heat people came out of their homes to cast their votes. West Midnapore had recorded 84.71% turnout till 5 pm. Bankura witnessed 78.87% turnout while in Burdwan it was 75.12% till 5 pm. The Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said the turnout percentage would go up as polls were held till 6 pm in many booths.
The Election Commission received 1,878 complaints of which 1,810 were disposed of, while the remaining 68 were looked into, Gupta said. Three people including a polling personnel died of sunstroke. Because of the sharp rise in mercury, most of the polling stations remained empty in the afternoon. People came out of their homes and queued up in front of the booths after 3pm and polling in some areas continued three hours after the original schedule.
In Ranigunj in booth number 50, the presiding officer was replaced after allegations were made that Sorab Ali, husband of Trinamool Congress candidate Nargis Banoo went inside the polling station and influenced some voters in connivance with the presiding officer. On receiving the complaint, EC personnel went to the booth and replaced him.
Gupta said in Bishnupur (booth numbers 65,66), Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya of Congress was assaulted near the booth. His mobile phone was snatched. The SDPO Bishnupur and IC Bishnupur went to the spot and arrested Anarul Mondol. In Keshpur a clash between CPI(M) and TMC supporters took place in which four were injured.
It was alleged that bombs were hurled and the accused carried fire arms. But after an inquiry nothing of that sort was found. In Sonamukhi a TMC supporter was arrested for beating up a CPI(M) cadre. In Jamuria, two people were arrested in connection with a clash. In Onda, complaints were made to the media against some persons with their faces covered threatening voters. When investigations were made they were found to be false.
Gupta said the polling was peaceful. Not a single case of booth capturing or jamming was made. There were Central Forces in every booth. Two helicopters were deployed for aerial monitoring.
Thirty seven EVMs were replaced after they developed snags. In Monday’s election process, 36,000 polling personnel were involved. In Bankura, a booth exclusively for leprosy patients was made. On the second day of the first phase of election 1.19 lakh voters exercised their franchise.
It was learnt that the CEC Nasim Zaidi will hold a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta through a video conference to discuss various issues relating to today’s poll.