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25 pct votes cast in WB civic polls

Polling in 81 civic bodies in the state and 141-ward KMC began at 7 am and will end at 3 pm.

Written by Agencies | Kolkata |
May 30, 2010 12:52:30 pm

Stray incidents of violence in the districts marred the polling for the crucial election to Kolkata Municipal Corporation and 81 civic bodies across West Bengal on Sunday.

An average 25 per cent votes were polled till 11 am throughout the state although in some places the percentage was higher,state Election Commission sources said.

Polling in 81 civic bodies in the state and 141-ward KMC began at 7 am and will end at 3 pm.

The election,in which 85 lakh voters are expected to exercise their franchise,is being seen as a ‘semi-final’ to the next year’s assembly polls in the state.

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In Burdwan,nine persons,including two policemen and a Trinamool Congress candidate,were injured when TC and CPI-M activists clashed during polling in Jamuria municipality.

Police said the two sides clashed while voting was on at Sripur. When police reached the spot,stones were thrown at them and two of their jeeps damaged. Several bombs were also hurled during the clash.

Sripur police station officer-in-charge Saikat Ray and another policeman were injured in the brick-batting,while TC candidate Sadhan Chandra Ray was injured in the clash. He was later rushed to the hospital.

Six villagers were also injured in the incident.

The rival activists dispersed after police resorted to lathicharge and six people were detained in connection with the clash. Police reinforcements have been rushed to the area.

TC sources claimed that the police went from door-to-door and beat up its supporters.

Police said a TC agent of a booth in Jamuria municipality was detained when he smashed an EVM alleging malpractices.

Polling was suspended for over an hour till a new EVM was provided in the booth.

An altercation between the TC and the CPI-M activists,the main opponents in the civic polls,was also reported from Baidyapur at Tarakeshwar in Hooghly district.

The situation was brought under control after the police lathicharged them.

One CPI-M member was detained in the incident,the police said.

Official sources said that a lathicharge was ordered at a polling booth in Ward No-8 in Old Malda following reports of booth jamming.

A total of 68 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed along with 33,000 state police personnel to ensure peaceful,free and fair polling.

For the ruling Left Front,it will be a litmus test after a string of electoral reverses since the 2008 panchayat polls and last year’s Lok Sabha elections to ascertain whether it will reap dividends from the Congress and TC going it alone this time.

The civic polls is crucial for Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee too as it will ascertain her party’s strength prior to the assembly elections in which it aims to beat the Left Front at the helm for 34 years.

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