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West Bengal: Violence mars civic polls, over 70 per cent turnout

At Karunamoyee Housing Estate in Salt Lake’s ED Block, reporters and a photojournalist of The Sunday Express were beaten up and pushed out before the CPM camp was razed and party supporters beaten up by alleged outsiders.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: October 4, 2015 6:39:35 am
mamata banerjee, trinamool, trinamool congress, bengal local body polls, BJP, asansol, CPM, murshidabad, bengal civic polls, west bengal news For the ruling Trinamool Congress, it is a prestige battle ahead of the state assembly elections

Sporadic violence and assaults on journalists on Saturday marred elections to municipal corporations in West Bengal as over 70 per cent people cast their votes.

Polling took place at Bidnannagar and Asansol municipal corporations, along with Bally under Howrah Municipal Corporation and Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad. While in Bidhanngar, the voter turnout was 70 per cent, Asansol saw 71 per cent poll percentage. While the turnout for Siliguri was 78 per cent, the figure was 69.3 for Howrah. Votes for the civic polls will be counted on October 7.

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Elections to Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation witnessed incidents of violence right from the word go. It has been alleged that the ruling Trinamool had brought in “outsiders” (people from other areas) to rig the election. At AC Block, violence broke out around 8 am when a group of youths threatened the voters who had queued up at booth 426. Later, they reportedly entered the booth to cast fake votes.

Police arrived and chased away around 15 people from the booth. In the ensuing melee, a scuffle broke out that led to the EVM being damaged. “Outsiders had come to the booth to rig the polls. However, there was no resistance from polling agents of other parties,” said the presiding officer of the booth. Samiran Sengupta, the election agent of the booth, however, claimed: “We had resisted but were beaten and thrown out of the polling station.”

CPM’s mayoral candidate, Asim Dasgupta, accused the police was not doing their duty properly. At Karunamoyee Housing Estate in Salt Lake’s ED Block, reporters and a photojournalist of The Sunday Express were beaten up and pushed out before the CPM camp was razed and party supporters beaten up by alleged outsiders. At BD Park, seven bombs were hurled. A dissident Trinamool candidate, who is contesting the polls as an Independent from Ward 41, was injured by a bomb splinter. At BD Block’s booth 422, polling agent Pijush Shantikari was beaten up.

At booth 344 of Ward 33, within the campus of Administrative Training Institute, presiding officer Santosh Mondal admitted that some trouble was caused by outsiders.

In Asansol’s Ward 14, while two persons were injured in gunfire, one was hurt by a bomb splinter. A gang of alleged outsiders reportedly took over the booths at Kalla Primary School and start chasing away voters.

At Murshidabad, Congress candidate Ranadip Ghosh was allegedly abducted by Trinamool workers as he came to cast his vote for a panchayat samiti bypoll at Talibpur.

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