The counting of votes for the by-elections held in three assembly seats in West Bengal- Kaliaganj (SC), Karimpur and Kharagpur Sadar will be held on Thursday. The counting will begin at 8 am and the final results will be out by 5 pm. The by-polls are stated to be a litmus test for the ruling TMC and BJP in West Bengal ahead of 2021 state elections.
Over 7.34 lakh eligible voters were entitled to vote in 801 polling stations to choose their representatives from among 18 candidates, including three women.
The by-polls, held on November 25, in three constituencies of Kaliagunge, Karimpur and Kharagpur Sadar seats witnessed 77.17%, 81.23%, and 67.62% respectively, according to Election Commission, which said "The average voting percentage was 75.48 per cent. The turnout was 77.17 per cent in Kaliaganj, 67.62 in Kharagpur Sadar and 81.23 in Karimpur."
In Karimpur (Nadia district), the Trinamool Congress and the BJP were engaged in a no holds barred fight. BJP candidate Jay Prakash Majumdar, the party`s state Vice President and a familiar face in television debates, faced strong resistance from the Trinamool cadres.
Majumdar`s rival and Trinamool candidate Bimalendu Sinha Roy also courted controversy after he was found to have entered a booth with the party symbol displayed on his dress.
At Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur district, a presiding officer was removed after the Trinamool Congress lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against BJP candidate Kamal Chandra Sarkar for breaking rules by showing his wife the EVM button she needed to press.
In Kharagpur Sadar`s booth number 140, the BJP agent complained that the EVM was strategically placed beside a mirrored wall. The wall was later covered with a cloth by the election officials.
The by-polls in Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur were necessitated after sitting MLAs -- Dilip Ghosh and Mahua Moitra -- were elected to the Lok Sabha, while the by-poll in Kaliaganj happened due to the death of Congress MLA Pramath Nath Roy.
Notably, the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP are contesting all the seats.