Kolkata: The second phase of polling for the Assembly elections saw 80.43% polling in West Bengal, with the hot spot Nandigram recording 80.79% polling till 5.45 p.m, as per the Election Commission app.
In Assam, 74.79% polling was registered till 5.45 p.m, with the highest turnout in Nalbari district, with 81.53% and the lowest in Hojai at 66.33%.
In Bengal, the stakes were high as Nandigram is seeing a fierce battle between incumbent Trinamool Congress chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her aide-turned-foe, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Suvendu Adhikar, with the Left-Cngress- Indian Secular Front Alliance’s young candidate, Minakshi Mukerjee, giving a spirited fight.
A total 30 seats went to polls in Bengal in the second phase in South 24 Parganas, Bankura, Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur. In Assam, polling was held for a total of 39 seats in this phase.
In the heavyweight constituency of Nandigram, fear was writ large in spite of imposition of Section 144. As per reports, in various booths, BJP and TMC used their muscle power to prevent voters from being cast.
During the campaign, Banerjee had come up with startling testimony that it was Suvendu who was the mastermind behind the Nandigram killings in March 2007. She also hinted at the involvement of civilians dressed as police personnel. Suvendu, who then worked for the TMC supremo, had a terror writ over Nandigram.
Read Also: Bengal Elections: In Attacking Suvendu on Nandigram Firing, has Mamata Exposed Her Own Role?
Apart from Nandigram and Keshpur, sporadic violence was aslo reported in Borjora where incumbent CPI(M) MLA Sujit Chakraborty is in the fray . There were allegations of a TMC candidate “using police force” to beat up some voters of the Morcha . In Debra, too, a also scuffle broke out between TMC and BJP camps, both having ex-IPS officers Humayan Kabir ( TMC ) and Bharati Ghosh ( BJP ) as contestants.
In Boyal Madhya Primary School booth in Nandigram, Banerjee went inside a voting station and camped there for two hours alleging foul play and booth capture by BJP. She later called up the Governor and apprised him of the developments. While BJPclaimed the polls had been “fair”, both TMC and Sangjukto Morcha (Left-Congress-ISF) alleged irregularities in the election process.
Later, speaking with media after lodging a complaint with the Chief Election Office in Kolkata, the Sangjukto Morcha objected to the “surrogate” campaign by BJP in violation of the Election Commission’s mandate on election day, pointing out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state and TV channels airing live coverage of his remarks while polling was going on.
Taking strong exception to this “surrogate” campaign, the Sangjukto Morcha has asked the EC to intervene. The Chief Minister too took exception top this type of campaign while the voting process was on.
Addressing the press, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Rabin Deb said the Morcha had submitted their objection on the Keshpur OC who, they alleged, had sided with TMC in Thursday’s violence wherein a candidate was injured and cars of the media were damaged after a TMC worker was knifed to death, allegedly by BJP workers.
Objections to the role of observers in six-seven Assembly segments were also submitted, including in Nandigram. ISF, too, submitted a complaint about an OC and second officer of Bhangar police station alleging that they “openly worked” for the ruling party.
“How could there be so much of a congregation in Nandigram where Section 144 was in place?” said Deb, adding that the EC had sent a DIG-level officer there but nothing came out of it in ensuring peaceful polls in Nandigram. .
The Morcha also condemned the blatant manner in which Prime Minister Modi in his Uluberia speech, which was beamed live by all TV channels, gave a virtual poll speech, questioning Banerjee if she was considering filing nomination from another constituency.