Booth capturing, threats, chaos: How Kolkata civic body polling unfolded

Booth capturing, threats, chaos: How Kolkata civic body polling unfolded, the vie

Opposition parties on Sunday alleged that TMC workers had captured booths and driven out their polling agents from booths at several wards in the Kolkata civic body election.

At ward number 110, when the polling started, complaints began pouring in from CPI (M) polling agents who alleged that they were being forced out of the polling booths.

Similar complaints started coming from many other booths and continued throughout the day. While some wards saw peaceful polling, several others witnessed violence, ruckus, road blockades and protests as Opposition parties levelled allegations of booth capturing and threatening polling agents by TMC workers. The Indian Express visited various booths.

CPI(M) candidate from ward number 110 Tanusree Mondol said, “Our agents were forced to leave booths. They (TMC supporters) started casting fake votes and capturing booths since early morning. In some of the booths, they also forced the presiding officer out.”

There were reports of TMC workers gathering in front of booths or 100 metres away while the polling was underway. However, police were seen taking no steps to implement section 144 which the State Election Commission had imposed 48 hours before polling.

CPI(M) candidate of ward number 101 Atanu Chatterjee alleged that TMC polling agents were threatening his polling agent. Soon after its polling agents were forced to leave booths, the CPI(M) withdrew all its polling agents from four wards and blocked a road in Jadavpur. CPI (M) secretary of South 24 Parganas district Samik Lahiri said, “We are demanding re-polling of all booths of ward number 101, 102, 109 and 110. Otherwise, we will have to go to the courts.”

By 10pm, the allegation was being levelled against TMC in almost all wards in areas like Bhawanipore, Sealdah, Bowbazar, Bara Bazar, Alipore and Tollygunj, TMC workers were reportedly seen gathering people to help them to capture booths.

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