KOLKATA:The highly-polarised Sabang Vidhan Sibha by-election, whose result could indicate whether the BJP has started making inroads into West Bengal, saw 84 per cent voting on Thursday. at 306 polling booths. Though the voting percentage was a mere 15 per cent in the
first two hours of voting, the pace picked up as the day progressed. The BJP which has struggled to gain a foothold in the state, is hoping to maintain its track record after winning both the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections last week. On the other hand, ruling Trinamool Congress would seek to expand its footprint in the Congress bastion.
Sporadic violence between Trinamool Congress cadres and cadres of Opposition parties was reported from parts of the constituency, with Central forces resorting to lathi charge and firing rounds in the air to end the clashes.
Eight companies of Central forces were deployed for the bypoll, in which some 2.5 lakh voters were eligible to cast the ballot. The bypoll was necessitated after former West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Manas Bhunia, who joined Trinamool Congress last year, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Bhunia’s wife Gitarani Bhunia is contesting as a TMC candidate against Rita Mandal of CPM, Chiranjib Bhowmick of the Congress and Antara Bhattacharya of BJP.