Bengal bypolls: Voting largely peacefully, moderate turnout

Bengal bypolls: Voting largely peacefully, moderate turnout

Kolkata: By-elections in three Assembly constituencies in Bengal—Bhabanipur in south Kolkata, Samsherganj and Jangipur in Murshidabad ended peacefully with not a single case of arrest or recovery of arms or bombs in any of the constituencies. The results will be announced on October 3.

The polling percentage till 5 pm was 78.60 and 76.12 in Samsherganj and Jangipur respectively while Bhowanipore from where Mamata Banerjee is contesting registered a poll percentage of 53.22. There were only 57 complaints received till 5 pm among which the majority was from BJP.

Attempts of spreading false reports by Kalyan Chowbey, election agent of Hindustani Awami Morcha candidate and claimed to be close to BJP, that his car was vandalised by supporters of some political leaders were foiled when an ongoing probe attributed that the incident had no link with politics.

There was a minor scuffle at Khalsa High School in Bhabanipur where the BJP supporters alleged that TMC was trying to push false voters into the polling station. However, the Central Force soon intervened and dispersed the gathering near the booth.

TMC leader Firhad Hakim tweeted urging voters to come and vote in Bhabanipur soon after the poll percentage was found 8 per cent till 11 am. Another similar tweet was found in the name of TMC veteran Subrata Mukherjee, that BJP branded as an attempt to influence the voters. "I cannot tweet. I can simply make phone calls and read and send WhatsApp messages. It is a deep-rooted conspiracy on the part of BJP who are sure of losing the elections," Mukherjee said.

Mamata Banerjee voted a little after 4 pm at Mitra Institution while TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee cast his franchise at around 3 pm. Hakim voted at Chetla Balika Vidyalaya while TMC veteran Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, voted at Manmatha Private School in Kansaripara area a little after 11 am.

Exchange of pleasantries among the candidates was another salient feature of the peaceful elections. TMC leader Hakim responded to a proposal of having a cup of tea with CPI(M) candidate Srijib Biswas right inside the camp office. TMC and BJP candidates from Samsherganj Jakir Hossain and Sujit Das also showed courtesy while moving in different booths and even had a short friendly interaction.

A few hours before the end of polling Congress candidate from Samsherganj alleged rigging on the part of TMC in 9 booths and claimed to have appealed to the Commission for re-poll.

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