Nation Politics 20 Dec 2021 Violence rocks civic ...

Violence rocks civic elections in Kolkata

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RAJIB CHOWDHURI
Published Dec 20, 2021, 7:30 am IST
Updated Dec 20, 2021, 1:24 pm IST
209 arrested for clashes; BJP protests, seeks repoll
Security personal patrol after bomb exploded in front of a polling booth during Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections, in Kolkata, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. (PTI)
 Security personal patrol after bomb exploded in front of a polling booth during Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections, in Kolkata, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. (PTI)

Kolkata: Violence marred the Kolkata Municipal Corporation election on Sunday when three persons were injured in two separate incidents of crude bomb explosions, while the Opposition parties’ candidates and agents were allegedly attacked and evicted from the polling booths by Trinamul Congress workers in many of the 144 wards.

While the voter turnout was recorded at 63.63 per cent, 209 persons were arrested by the Kolkata police for creating trouble during the poll.

 

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who cast her vote at Mitra Institution in Bhowanipore in the afternoon, however, claimed: “Kolkata witnessed a peaceful civic poll. We wanted this because the election is a mass festival in democracy. People cast their votes in a festive mood. There are 144 wards. If someone cannot contest the polls, he would make drama. It is better to ignore them. The Kolkata police is the best. They tried their best. The district police also helped in ensuring no outsiders were able to enter the city.”

 

In the evening Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari complained to West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar during a meeting at Raj Bhavan along with a BJP delegation, including MLAs. He said: “We demand that this poll be nullified and a repoll held. The police acted as TMC cadres. We will submit evidence of rampant violence, rigging and other anomalies at the Calcutta high court where a case on the civic poll has been underway.”

In the morning, a gang of miscreants hurled crude bombs near Khanna High School on Beliaghata Main Road in Entally. Joint commissioner of police (headquarters) Shubhankar Sinha Sarkar said no one was injured in the incident that took place at around 9.45 am. He added: “Later, some miscreants came from Narkeldanga and hurled a bomb in front of Taki School in the Amherst Street area. Three persons were injured. They were admitted to hospital. One of the accused was arrested while others have been identified and will be caught soon.”

 

At the same time, allegations of large-scale electoral malpractices like booth-jamming, rigging and appearance of false voters and street fights were reported from other parts of the city. In most of them, the BJP candidates and their agents were attacked by the TMC workers. The list includes at least five party candidates, including Meena Devi Purohit, a councillor.

Even CPI(M) candidates were not spared in some wards. The BJP lodged a complaint with the West Bengal State Election Commission while its workers began a state-wide protest in the city and districts from the afternoon. Later, eight BJP MLAs, who had plans to meet Mr Adhikari at his residence in Salt Lake in the presence of 16 other party MLAs, sat on dharna at the MLAs’ hostel on Kyd Street after finding that its entrance was locked from outside.

 

Mr Dhankhar, who left Raj Bhavan to cast his vote at a nearby polling booth and expressed concerns over reports of the violence, also turned furious as Mr Adhikari and other BJP MLAs were stopped by the Bidhannagar police from leaving the Salt Lake address before they met him.

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