Mamata Casts Her Vote in Bhabanipur Constituency, 53.32% Turnout Till 5 pm
The votes will be counted on 3 October.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is contesting the bypoll from the Bhabanipur constituency, cast her vote at the Mitra Institution polling booth at around 3 pm on Thursday, 30 September.
Bhabanipur witnessed a voter turnout of 53.32 percent until 5 pm, whereas Samserganj saw a turnout of 78.60 percent and Jangipur 76.12 percent, reported The Indian Express.
Polling for the byelection to the Bhabanipur Assembly seat went on till 6 pm. Banerjee needs to win and become an MLA in order to remain the chief minister of West Bengal.
Earlier, ANI reported that the seat had recorded a voter turnout of 35.97 percent till 1 pm.
Mamata Banerjee's nephew and National General Secretary of the TMC Abhishek Banerjee also caste his vote in Bhabanipur.
The polling started amid tight security and stringent COVID-19 measures, officials said. Voting will continue till 6 pm on Thursday and the votes will be counted on 3 October.
Banerjee had earlier lost from the Nandigram constituency in the Assembly elections, necessitating her contesting the bypolls from Bhabanipur. She lost to former Trinamool Congress member Suvendu Adhikari, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposed Banerjee in the poll.
TMC MLA Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay resigned to make way for Mamata Banerjee in Bhabanipur.
Apart from south Kolkata's Bhabanipur, the by-polls are being held in Jangipur and Samserganj seats in Murshidabad district following the death of two candidates, with a total of 6,97,164 voters eligible to exercise their vote, NDTV reported.
Jangipur and Samserganj have recorded 53.78 and 57.15 percent polling respectively till 1 pm, reported ANI
Clash Between BJP & TMC Supporters
Meanwhile, a scuffle broke out between BJP and TMC supporters in the Bhabanipur Assembly constituency. According to ANI, BJP leader Kalyan Chaubey's car was allegedly vandalised.
"Two persons were doing forged voting at a poll booth in a school, we caught them red-handed and informed the police, central forces. Later, some 8-10 bike-borne people attacked me and my car with sticks and stones," Chaubey was quoted as saying by ANI.
Earlier, there were reports of a minor scuffle at Khalsa High School in Bhabanipur area when the BJP supporters alleged that the Trinamool Congress was trying to push false voters to the polling station. When BJP workers tried to enter the booth, they were stopped by the TMC workers, requiring central forces to intervene and dispersed the mob.
Meanwhile, BJP candidate for Bhabanipur bypoll, Priyanka Tibrewal, said, “We're hoping for fair elections. Security deployment is very important. I will visit polling booths in the area today. The state government is in fear right now,” news agency ANI reported.
On Thursday afternoon, Tibrewal alleged that the TMC is paying some people to cast a vote, according to news agency ANI.
"A man confessed to me that TMC paid him Rs 500 to cast vote. He was from Bansdroni. I have informed the authorities," she said.
The BJP on Thursday also complained to the Election Commission against two state ministers – Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim –for impressing upon the voters and urged the commission to keep the two cabinet ministers under house arrest till the election is over, according to IANS.
"The Trinamool ministers are going to the voters and forcing them to vote for the Trinamool Congress and we have complained about it to the election commission," a senior BJP leader said.
Security Arrangements for Bypoll
The Election Commission has decided to deploy additional 20 companies of central forces, taking the total to 35 companies.
According to the polling body officials, the additional 20 companies of central forces have been deployed for patrolling duty.
"The additional companies will also be deployed to prevent any kind of unlawful gathering and untoward situation," an EC official said.
Though as many as 2,250 state forces personnel have been deployed for the bypoll, they will not be deployed inside the polling stations.
"The 15 companies of central forces that are presently stationed in the constituency will take care of the polling stations. There will be two constables outside the polling stations to manage the queue, but the responsibility of the security will rest entirely on the central forces," the official added, according to IANS.
Besides declaring all the 287 booths as 'sensitive', the Election Commission had decided to deploy a micro-observer each in all the booths.
"The Commission has also declared 13 booths as 'super-sensitive'. Mitra Institution, the booth where Banerjee is supposed to cast her vote, has also been declared as super-sensitive. There will be web-casting not only in the super-sensitive booths, but also in many other booths. The Election Commission will keep a close watch on the development of the election process," the official added.
(With inputs from ANI, IANS, The Indian Express and NDTV.)
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