Phase-II: Nearly 80% voter turnout in Bengal
Barring a few stray incidents the second phase election in West Bengal passed off peacefully.
He said compared to the two earlier days of polling on April 1 and 4, Sunday’s election was more peaceful and fewer complaints were received. On Sunday the EC received 1001 complaints of which 966 were disposed off and the remaining have been looked into. While 14 people were booked under specific charges,18 were arrested as preventive measures.
The ECI lodged two FIRs against Trinamool Congress district president Anubrata Mondol. The Commission is also looking into a complaint against the BJP candidate from Mayureshwar, Locket Chatterjee for threatening a presiding officer and disrupting the poll process. Polling was stopped for nearly 10 minutes as a result. The ECI has sought a detailed report on the matter from the CEO’s office. Elections were held in 56 Assembly constituencies spreading over seven districts. There were 13,645 polling stations and 1.22 crore voters exercised their franchise. Gopi Chakraborty, a reserved 3rd polling officer died following a massive heart attack. He was an employee of Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad.
The EC said most of the complaints lodged by the Opposition and media were found to be baseless. Gupta said in Malda (polling station 163) it was shown by a section of electronic media that a person had helped people to cast their votes. The presiding officer was replaced. On inquiry it was found that the video was taken when the EC was conducting mock poll in presence of polling agents. In Birbhum, polling was suspended for a while in booth numbers 87 and 292 after the EVMs developed snags. In Rajnagar in Jalpaiguri allegations were made that TMC workers were not allowing voters to enter the polling station. The election officials went to the spot and found the allegations to be baseless. The CPI(M) alleged that its polling agent had been kidnapped in Dubrajpur. On inquiry this allegation was also found to be false. Complaints were made alleging boycott of polls in Belia village of Birbhum. On investigation this was also found to be untrue.
In Englishbazar a TMC polling agent was beaten up allegedly by CPI(M) cadre. TMC workers alleged that the area which once a CPI(M) bastion had recently come under TMC. Upset over being snubbed by voters, CPI(M) cadre attacked the TMC supporters. Three TMC supporters were injured in a scuffle in Malda.
Elaborate arrangements were made for peaceful election on Sunday. Eight hundred companies of Central Forces were deployed to ensure peaceful polling. There were 32 general observers. Sunil Gupta said the visibility of Central Forces were more on Sunday than the past two days of polling. There were 110 RT mobile vans along with 131 QRTs. 196 flying squads were also deployed.