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Nandigram by-elections pass off peacefully

Amid high voter turnout,the much-hyped by-elections at Nandigram in East Midnapore passed peacefully on Monday.

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya | Nandigram | January 6, 2009 1:25:40 am

Four injured in stray violence,Trinamool,CPM trade charges

Amid high voter turnout,the much-hyped by-elections at Nandigram in East Midnapore passed peacefully on Monday.

“The turnout at 176 booths in Nandigram was more than 80 per cent. Except some stray incidents,when two persons received injuries,the polling was peaceful,” District Magistrate Choten Dhendhup Lama told The Indian Express.

“At some places,people tried to create disturbance. We arrested nine persons,of whom one was released later,” Lama added.

Nearly 1,500 personnel of Central forces manned the polling booths and patrolled various areas. “The election was unexpectedly peaceful. We neither seized any arms nor arrested anyone. We never expected this kind of an election in Nandigram,” said Ajay Mishra,Commandant of 94 battalion of CRPF. Seven companies of CRPF and eight of BSF were deployed in Nandigram to prevent any untoward incident.

Polling went on peacefully since morning at booths of Nandigram 1 and Nandigram 2 blocks. Around 4.30 pm,four persons,who were on their way to vote in Reyapara,were allegedly beaten up by a mob.

According to sources,Bhim Dasi,Kalyani Dasi,Saraswati Dasi and Subrata Debnath,were on their way to the polling booth,when a few miscreants attacked them at Reyapara crossing. Subrata Debnath,who received serious injuries was admitted in the Tamluk hospital and the others were discharged later.

Both the CPM and the Trinamool claimed that the victims were their supporters. “We have received a complaint and sent a huge force to the area. The culprits will be arrested soon,” Deputy Inspector-General (Midnapore range) Pravin Kumar said.

People were seen in long queues in booths of areas,which were once a hot-bed of violence. Even in areas bordering CPM-dominated Khejuri,the polling went on peacefully.

“We have never seen so tight security here. In the May panchayat elections,I came to the polling booth at Hussainpur primary school but had to run away without casting my vote because of the ongoing violence between the political parties,” said Amanara Bibi,a resident of Hussainpur.

For nearly 100-year-old Kabusan Bibi,who was taken by her relatives in a van to Kulsumia Primary school in Samsabad,it was a happy moment. “Heavy violence was reported in panchayat elections and my relatives could not take me to vote. But today I could register my vote,” Kabusan said.

CPM Nandigram zonal secretary Ashok Bera,however,said: “People were not allowed to vote. Trinamool goons threatened and thrashed hundreds of our followers. How can we call it free and fair polls? At Reyapara four of our party supporters were beaten up.”

Trinamool district leader Sisir Adhikary shot back. “The CPM is terrorising our supporters. We are sure of a win. The four persons injured at Reyapara are our supporters and were attacked by CPM goons.”

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