NANDIGRAM/KOLKATA, April 1: Heavy voting amidst sporadic violence marked the second phase of polling to the West Bengal Assembly as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the Election Commission over inaction to complaints filed by her party.
Sporadic violence and minor clashes were reported from various constituencies, including the high profile Nandigram, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is locked in a high-stakes electoral battle with her former lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari now with the BJP.
An agitated Banerjee slammed the Election Commission for not taking any action despite lodging several complaints and threatened to move court over it. Amongst the complaints were allegations of “booth capturing” and massive fake voting in Boyal.
“We have lodged 63 complaints since morning. But not a single action has been taken. We will move court over it. This is unacceptable. The EC is working as per Amit Shah’s instructions,” she said while sitting outside booth number 7 in Boyal in Nandigram, where her partymen alleged many voters were unable to cast their ballot. “Goons from other States are creating ruckus here,” she said.
Banerjee also rang up the West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to complain about the situation. Dhankar tweeted soon afterwards to state: “Issues flagged @MamataOfficial a while ago on phone have been imparted to the concerned.”
“We have recorded 58 per cent voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in the 30 seats where polling is under way for the second phase,” an Election Commission official said.
The constituencies where polls are being conducted include 9 seats each in Purba and Paschim Medinipur districts, 8 in Bankura and four in South 24 Parganas. Strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols has been ensured in all places, officials said.
Both Banerjee and Adhikari went to various polling booths in Nandigram to take stock of the situation after reports of violence and booth ‘jamming’ – a bid by workers of one party to crowd out voters from a polling booth by forming long queues.
Surprisingly, these incidents occurred despite Nandigram constituency being placed under Section 144 to contain possible violence. – PTI