Good turnout, sporadic clashes mark WB polls

Party workers of the Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M) clashed on Sunday as six municipalities across West Bengal went to polls. The Trinamool Congress and the Congress are contesting separately in these polls. The civic polls - the first since the Trinamool Congress was voted to power in 2011 - are being touted as a testing ground for both parties for the panchayat elections next year.

The Congress alleged that its candidates were attacked by Trinamool Congress workers in some wards, again denied by the Trinamoool Congress. Almost all the 129 seats in the six civic bodies - Durgapur, Dhupguri, Haldia, Nalhati, Panskura and Coopers' Camp - witnessed triangular contests with the main contestants being from Congress, Trinamool Congress and CPI[M]-led Left Front. The vote percentile according to the State Election Commission was 85 per cent on an average.

Trinamool Congress leader Sisir Adhikari expressed satisfaction at the polling process in the high profile Haldia civic elections, though CPI[M] state secretary Biman Bose expressed apprehension that presence of 'outsiders' in some wards might hamper fair elections. 'I dont agree - I think that elections were free and fair and I'm hopeful about a positive result for the party,' Sisir Adhikari told Millennium Post. West Bengal Pradesh Congress President Pradip Bhattacharjee said that the CPIM has imported the same intimidating tactics as the CPIM in Sunday's polls. TMC MP from Tamluk Subhendu Adhikari however said that the Congress never campaigned in the area before and tried to rescue the hapless people when CPIM strongman Lakshman Seth — now behind bars — ruled in the area.

In Durgapur, there were clashes among party workers belonging to all contesting parties and RAF swung into action to control the situation in some of the booths. The CPIM leaders demanded repolling 29 booths in Durgapur citing violence and rigging, denied by the Trinamool Congress.
The Congress top brass said that the civic poll results—to be declared on Tuesday—will prove that they are a force to reckon with in South Bengal. As for the ruling TMC, they will probably get to hear the people's verdict on how their administration has been doing over the last one year in West Bengal.
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