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Day after violence during KMC elections, BJP, CPM move HC for repoll

While the BJP petition has been filed by the party’s state vice-president Pratap Banerjee, CPI(M) candidate from ward number 2, Debaleena Sarkar, filed the secomd petition in the high court.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
December 21, 2021 12:48:32 pm
Voters outside a polling station at Razabazar during the KMC election, in Kolkata

Citing incidents of violence during the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections on Sunday, the BJP and CPI(M) on Monday moved the Calcutta High Court, seeking a repoll.

The three main Opposition parties — BJP, CPI(M) and Congress — also organised protests alleging vote rigging and booth capturing by “TMC workers”.

While the BJP petition has been filed by the party’s state vice-president Pratap Banerjee, CPI(M) candidate from ward number 2, Debaleena Sarkar, filed the secomd petition in the high court.

Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava has listed the matter for hearing on December 23.

Appearing on behalf of the CPI(M) candidate, advocate Sabyasachi Chattopadhyay said, “It is not a mere question of violence. It was a premeditated move to capture the election process by the ruling dispensation. The police gave protection to TMC candidates. Along with the State Election Commission, the police also ensured that polling agents of Opposition parties were driven out of booths. Therefore, it is important to bring the matter before the court and to show how democracy was curtailed in the name of an election.”

The KMC election on Sunday was marred by violence with incidents of polling agents driven out of booths, candidates being beaten up and vote rigging allegedly by TMC workers poured in from across the city. Crude bombs were hurled outside polling booths in two areas, leaving three injured. The voter turnout was 64 per cent. More than 200 people were arrested.

Meanwhile, the BJP on Monday staged a protest outside its state headquarters in central Kolkata after the police denied them permission to take out a rally against poll violence. The police had put up barricades. However, BJP workers broke the barricades and entered into a scuffle with policemen. Several BJP workers were detained but were later released.

Senior BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya said, “We have never heard that we have to take permission from the police to protest. We are always stopped by the police from holding protest demonstrations and rallies. This is unprecedented.”

CPI(M) workers protested outside the SEC office at Rawdon Street. CPI(M) leaders also held a sit-in outside the chamber of State Election Commissioner Saurav Das, demanding a repoll. “The state poll panel too worked at the instruction of the TMC leadership. We are staging a protest across the state today. We will hold the same tomorrow as well,” said senior CPI(M) leader Rabin Deb.

The Congress also took out a protest rally from Birla Planetarium to the SEC office in the afternoon, saying Sunday’s election be declared null and void. A delegation of Congress leaders met Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at the Raj Bhawan and sought his intervention.

Reacting to the allegations, minister Partha Chatterjee said except one or two isolated incidents, the election was peaceful. “There was no violence… This is nothing but a drama because they know they will only get 2 to 3 per cent vote share. They are contesting against each other to find out who will come second or third.”

 

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