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Sporadic clashes mar WB civic polls; 75% voter turnout

CPI-M and Trinamool workers clashed on Sunday during West Bengal civic polls, which recorded around 75% turnout.



Kolkata: CPI-M and Trinamool Congress
workers clashed on Sunday during the fiercely-contested West
Bengal civic polls, which recorded a high voter turnout of
around 75 per cent.

The polls, seen as a semi-final before the 2011 Assembly
elections, were held in 81 civic bodies and in the 141-ward
Kolkata Municipal Corporation involving an electorate of 85
lakh.

Counting of votes will take place on June 2.

State Election Commission chairperson Meera Pandey said
that re-poll was likely to be ordered in two booths in
Kolkata.

Altogether 45 arrests were made in the districts and the
city for indulging in violence.

A voter received bullet injuries when a Tripura police
constable reportedly opened three rounds of fire at a polling
booth at Patuli in South 24-Parganas district.

The injured, identified as Bapi Dhar, earlier had an
altercation with the policeman and was rushed to a hospital,
IGP (law and order) S Purakayastha said.

The Tripura Police personnel were manning the booth
located at Kendua Girls` High School at Patuli which falls
under Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee`s Jadavpore
Assembly constituency.

An inquiry would be ordered into the incident, the IGP
said.

In Burdwan, nine persons, including two policemen and a
Trinamool candidate, were injured when Trinamool and CPI-M
activists clashed during polling at Jamuria municipality.

Police said the two sides clashed while voting was on
at Sripur in Burdwan district. When the police reached the
spot, stones were thrown at them damaging two of their jeeps.

Sripur police station officer-in-charge Saikat Ray and
another policeman were injured in the brick-batting, while
Trinamool candidate Sadhan Chandra Ray was injured in the
clash.

Trinamool supporters clashed with the police in some
wards of Hooghly district.

The IGP said Trinamool workers ransacked a police van at
Sripur in Burdwan district.

Some crude bombs were recovered from Liluah in Howrah
district where police seized two motorcycles and made one
arrest.

EVM hitches slowed down the polling process in some
booths, the officer said.

He said para-military forces were extensively used for
guarding booths and in mobile patrolling.

Of the 81 municipalities spread across 16 districts
of the state, the CPI(M)-led Left Front was in power in 55
civic bodies, Congress in 11 and Trinamool Congress in 8.
Congress and Trinamool Congress jointly formed boards in six
municipalities.

Congress, with the help of Independents, constituted
board in one municipality in Murshidabad district.

In the outgoing 141-ward Kolkata Municipal Corporation
Board, the CPI(M)-led Left Front had 75 seats, while Trinamool
Congress had 42, followed by Congress 21 and BJP 3.

For the Left, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC)
polls is a prestige issue since it had snatched it from the
TC in 2005.

All the three major players -- Left, TC and Congress --
have a lot at stake in today`s polls. For Chief Minister
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, a good showing by the Left can be
projected as their revival from the debacle of the last Lok
Sabha elections when it won just 15 seats out of 42 against
Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee`s 19.

For the TC chief, who has campaigned vigorously for the
polls, the results are expected to give enough indications on
whether she will ride to power in the assembly polls due next
May.

An important factor is that Trinamool has parted ways
with the Congress for the civic polls and may choose to go it
alone in the assembly elections if the outcome of today`s
exercise went in its favour.

PTI

From Zee News

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