Bhabanipur Assembly seat, from where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting, recorded the lowest polling percentage among three assembly by-elections in the state in the first two hours of polling on Thursday.
According to the data available with the Election Commission of India, the high-profile assembly constituency recorded only 7.5 per cent of polling in the first two hours of election. On the other hand, the two assembly constituencies of Jangipur in Murshidabad district and Samserganj recorded 17.5 and 16.3 per cent polling respectively.
Though there was a peaceful election in Murshidabad district, the opposition in Bhabanipur alleged that the ruling Trinamool Congress was violating rules on several occasions in the constituency.
BJP candidate Priyanaka Tibrewal said, “There was unlawful assembly in several areas of the constituency. I have complained to the police but they are not taking any step”. Tibrewal was even seen getting engaged in a verbal debate with the state police personnel on duty in the constituency.
CPM candidate Srijib Biswas said, “You won’t find flags and banners of the opposition near the polling stations but there are flags of Trinamool Congress within 200 metres of the booth. I have told the police but they are hardly paying any attention”.
State Transport minister and in-charge of Bhabanipur, Firhad Hakim, however, rubbished all the allegations. “The Election Commission has deployed 35 companies of central forces. They are not our forces. Let them deploy 5,000 companies of forces but nothing is going to happen. The BJP can’t even give polling agent in all the booths. I am telling you they will bring people from other areas and try to push them into the booths as agents which is against the rule. When they will fail to do so they will start shouting that we are not allowing their agents to sit. This is ridiculous”.
The polling began at 7 a.m. in the morning. The election was necessitated after TMC MLA Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay resigned to make way for Mamata Banerjee.
It is necessary for Mamata Banerjee to win this seat to continue as Chief Minister of West Bengal. The votes will be counted on October 3.