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bengal bom polls

West Bengal witnessed 79.51 per cent voter turnout in the assembly polls on Monday, the Election Commission said.

Polling came to an end on Monday evening in 31 assembly constituencies in the first phase of the West Bengal polls held across the three districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Burdwan.

As per the Election Commission, over 71 per cent turnout was recorded till 3 p.m. The voting percentage was 76 in West Midnapore, 70.80 in Bankura and 68 per cent in Burdwan.

Of the 31 constituencies, 13 were in West Midnapore and nine each in Bankura and Burdwan districts.

However, there were long queues of people in a number of booths even after the scheduled end of polling.

Pointing fingers at the Trinamool Congress, the Left Front on Monday claimed widespread booth capturing and false voting in the second round of the first phase of the West Bengal assembly polls.

Addressing mediapersons here, Left Front chairman Biman Bose also said the Election Commission (EC) failed in its responsibility to protect people’s democratic rights.

“We had warned about the Trinamool’s attempts to disrupt the polls. The EC has been advertising to encourage people to cast their own vote, but in many areas, it couldn’t come up with measures to ensure that.

“Because of that, there has been booth capturing and false voting across the constituencies,” said Bose.

Polling took place in 31 constituencies in West Midnapore, Bankura and Burdwan districts.

“The Trinamool has created an environment of terror and it was the EC’s role to counter that. But it couldn’t. In most of the places, the central security forces failed to play an active role.

“Our polling agents were assaulted, abducted and driven away, voters intimidated and our complaints regarding al that went un-redressed,” said Bose.

Giving details of the electoral malpractices, Bose claimed in West Midnapore, 150 booths were captured in Keshpur constituency, 30 booths in Garbeta and over 20 booths in Chadrakona.

He also said “false voting” and/or booth capturing took place in many booths in Bankura and Burdwan districts.

Bose also expressed his anguish over the CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra being denied entry in a booth in his constituency Narayangarh.

“We all have seen how a security personnel prevented Mishra from entering the booth despite the fact he was a candidate there. Only after checking his identity card he relented.

“Strangely, Trinamool’s Mohammad Sohrab, who is not even a candidate, freely entered and came out of booths in Raniganj citing his wife was a candidate.

“If Mishra who is the candidate, can be prevented, how come Sohrab who is convicted in a case, was allowed such a free access?” asked Bose referring to the sitting Raniganj legislator who has been convicted in a theft case.