Polling: Peaceful in Bengal, sporadic violence in Assam
Assam and West Bengal recorded an impressive voter turnout of of 82.21 per cent and 79.51 per cent respectively in the assembly polls which were marked by sporadic clashes and registration of an FIR against Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for violation of electoral law. An estimated 79.51 per cent polling was recorded in West Bengal and 82.21 per cent in Assam, Election Commission sources said in Delhi.
They said an FIR was registered against Gogoi under instructions from the Election Commission for violation of provisions of Representation of People Act for holding press conference during the poll.
In Assam, where balloting was held in 61 constituencies in the second and final phase, an 80-year-old voter died in a scuffle between CRPF personnel and the locals over forming a queue at a polling station in Sorbhog seat in Barpeta district, officials said. Three others, including a CRPF Assistant Commandant and a constable were also injured in the incident.
Security personnel fired in the air to quell a protest at at Chaygaon in Kamrup district after a CRPF constable allegedly “misbehaved” with a pregnant voter who re-entered a polling station to pick up her child whom she had inadvertently forgotten to carry while leaving after casting her vote.
The entire team of CRPF deployed in the polling station was replaced after the incident, the district superintendent of police Prasanta Saikia said.
Prominent among those whose fate will be decided in the second phase include cabinet ministers Rakibul Hussain, Chandan Sarkar and Nazrul Islam of Congress, AGP leader and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and BJP national spokesman Sidhartha Bhattacharya. Also in the fray is former Congress minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who revolted against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and later joined BJP last year. There are 525 candidates in the fray.
Congress, which under Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is seeking a fourth straight term in power, has fielded 57 candidates, BJP 35, its allies AGP 19 and BPF 10, AIDUF 47, CPI-M nine and CPI five. 65 of the state’s 126 seats had gone to polls on April 4.
In West Bengal, where TMC leader Mamata Banerjee is seeking a second term in office, polling was held in 31 seats in the second part of the first phase of poll. Elections were by and large peaceful with sporadic incidents of violence being reported from polling booths in Jamuria constituency in Burdwan.
Prominent among those whose fate would be decided in Monday’s polling included state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, former WBPCC president Manas Bhunia, state minister Malay Ghatak, actor Soham Chakrabarty besides CPM heavyweight Surjya Kanta Mishra.
Altogether 163 candidates, including 21 women, are in the fray from 31 seats in West Midnapore, Bankura and Burdwan districts. The ruling TMC, Left-Congress alliance and BJP, which has only one MLA in the outgoing Assembly, have fielded their nominees for all the seats.