Phase I polls pass peacefully in Bengal
KOLKATA: The first phase of elections in Bengal passed peacefully in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar on Thursday, with above 80 percent voter turnout in both the Lok Sabha seats. However, there were a few stray incidents of clashes reported from the two constituencies.
Bengal Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ariz Aftab, state ADG (Law and Order) Siddh Nath Gupta and Special Police Observer Vivek Dubey were of the opinion that the polls were peaceful and that prompt action was taken whenever a complaint was reported.
The police have arrested seven people from Cooch Behar and one from Alipurduar for trying to create disturbance during the voting process. Three FIRs have been filed for alleged vandalising of the vehicle of the All India Forward Bloc candidate at Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar, damaging an EVM at Dinhata and alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct in Cooch Behar.
During the day, a Left Front delegation led by senior CPI(M) leader Rabin Deb met the CEO and demanded a repoll in 170 polling booths, while BJP candidate from Cooch Behar Nisith Pramanik sat on a dharna in front of the DM's office, demanding repoll in all 837 booths where there was no deployment of Central Forces.
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress Cooch Behar district president Rabindra Nath Ghosh alleged that BSF jawans had entered a booth which they are not entitled to as per the Commission's rule. The Election Commission has sought a report from the IG, BSF regarding the complaint.
Some EVMs were reported going defunct at Dinhata, whereas polling had to be called off at Sitalkuchi due to isolated skirmishes. The matter would be taken up during the scrutiny on Friday.
The vehicle of Forward Bloc candidate Govinda Roy was vandalised at Mathabhanga and a case has been started against five accused persons regarding the incident.