KOLKATA: Voting in Kolkata’s civic body elections took place in a tense atmosphere on Sunday, amid allegations that workers of the TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal, were involved in violence against opposition candidates across the city.
After the polls opened at 7 am, police received hundreds of complaints from different political parties, who claim election agents were driven out of polling booths. In the city’s Sealdah and Khanna areas, two crude bombs were thrown, injuring at least two people. Opposition parties BJP, CPI(M) and Congress staged demonstrations in front of police stations and alleged high-handedness by the ruling party.
The state election commission recorded a 63.63% turnout in 144 wards as of 5 pm.The BJP’s candidate in ward 22, sitting councillor Meena Devi Purohit, said she was manhandled by TMC activists, a charge the TMC denied. The BJP candidate in ward 86 also made a similar allegation. In ward 21, CPI(M)’s Sujata Saha was allegedly assaulted and later hospitalised.
In another part of Kolkata, the Congress alleged that its polling agents were thrashed in a booth on Brabourne Road by TMC supporters. CPI(M) activists staged a road blockade in the Bagha Jatin area, alleging that their polling agents were not allowed inside the booths.The poll commission, however, said it did not receive any complaint of booth capturing.
Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said the civic elections were a mockery and demanded a re-poll in all the 144 wards.On Sunday, TMC’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said: ‘’If our party workers were involved in any act of violence, give us the proof. The party will take stern action within 24 hours.”
The TMC is fighting to retain its majority in the civic body for the third consecutive term.