National

52% voter turnout in Kolkata civic body elections till 1 pm

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on April 18, 2015

Police personnel checking the voter slip and card at the entrance of a booth in east Kolkata on civic poll day. Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

Despite reports of widespread violence, polling for the 144-ward Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) on Saturday saw a 52 per cent turnout till 1 p.m. The voting ended at 3 pm.

Opposition parties accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of resorting to violent tactics. The allegations were, however, rubbished by the Trinamool who claimed the polls to be peaceful.

“Till 1 pm, 52 per cent of polling was registered,” sources in the State Election Commission said.

Nearly 38 lakh voters, across 4,704 polling stations, will decide the fate of 1,077 candidates who are in the fray. The counting of votes is scheduled for April 28.

Currently, the KMC is controlled by the TMC.

Incidents of violence

Throughout the day, incidents of violence were reported across various parts of the city – across both North and South Kolkata.

According to sources, incidents of violence were reported mostly from areas in South Kolkata such as Jadavpur, Gangulybagan, Bagha Jatin, Kudghat, Thakurpukur and Garden Reach.

In the North and Central Kolkata, areas like Manicktala, Sealdah and Beleghata witnessed violence. In some areas, voters were also threatened and allegations of polling agents (of Opposition parties) being beaten up also emerged.

In many areas, such as Kudghat, the CPI(M) accused the TMC of brutally beating up their party candidate and workers.

In some areas like Kankurgachi, incidents of voters being asked to leave without casting their votes were reported.

Reports of CPI(M) candidates being attacked and shot at also emerged towards afternoon. Some incidents of miscreants hurling crude bombs to intimidate voters also came to the fore.

Opposition complaints

Opposition parties – mostly the CPI(M) led Left Front and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – alleged that the elections were not free and fair.

Siddharth Nath Singh, National Secretary and Central observer for BJP in West Bengal, said: “The police have become agents of the ruling party. Why else would there be so much reports of rigging.”

The TMC, opposition parties said, had resorted to violence and intimidating voters in places.

“Going by the reports that we have obtained, many people were not allowed to reach the booths. There have been reports of firing and hurling of bombs too. Media personnel too have been attacked,” Surya Kanta Mishra, State Secretary, CPI(M) and Leader of Opposition, told media persons.

Published on April 18, 2015
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