WB by-polls peaceful, record 68% voter turnout
Kolkata: By-elections to Bhowanipore
Assembly seat, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is in the
fray, and Basirhat North constituency saw an average turnout
of about 68 per cent.
The by-poll to the Bhowanipore seat was necessitated
after a sitting MLA of Trinamool Congress resigned to make way
for the Chief Minister to contest, as she is not a member of
the state legislature.
"The polling was peaceful. There is no report of any
law and order problem, or any irregularity for which re-polling
can be asked for. There is no report of vote boycott from
anywhere," Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta told newsmen.
Voter turnout of 80.35 per cent was recorded in
Basirhat North and 49.32 per cent in Bhowanipur, Gupta said,
adding that the percentage is likely to increase as voters
were in the queue at many booths well past 5 pm when polling
was scheduled to end.
"It can be said from past experience that the increase
may be by another two to four per cent," the CEO said.
The Electronic Voting Machines had to be replaced in
booth number 11-A and 12 in the Basirhat North constituency,
he said adding there was no other major complaint regarding
The Bhowanipur seat saw a six-cornered contest with the
main fight between Banerjee and CPI(M)'s Nandini Mukherjee. In
Basirhat North, where six candidates were in the fray, the
fight was between A T M Abdullah of Trinamool Congress and
CPI (M)'s Subid Ali Gazi.
By-poll to Basirhat North became necessary following
the death of sitting MLA Mustafa Bin Qasem.
Some of Banerjee's cabinet colleagues, including PWD
Minister Firad Hakim and Sports Minister Madan Mitra, besides
government chief whip Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, cast their
votes in Bhowanipore.
A large number of voters cheered Banerjee when she
arrived at the polling station at Mitra Institution to cast
her vote around 4.25 PM.
Gupta said adequate security arrangements had been made
with the Central armed police force personnel deployed at all
polling stations and premises. Personnel of the West Bengal
police were also deployed in their respective areas of
Besides, one general observer and an expenditure
observer for each of the two constituencies, micro-observers
were deployed in the sensitive 175 booths across the two
As many as 107 preventive arrests were made over the
past one month and another 491 people were arrested under
various sections of the CrPC, Gupta said adding that 1,288
non-bailable warrants were also executed.
In pre-election raids, the police recovered 41
unlicensed firearms, 59 cartridges and 23 explosives, he said.
Counting of votes will be taken up from 8.00 AM on