Politics

High Voter Turnout Despite Violence in Phase III of WB Polls

Voters line up in West Bengal. Credit: PTI

Voters line up in West Bengal. Credit: PTI

Kolkata: Sixty-two constituencies voted in the third phase of the West Bengal assembly polls today, which witnessed a series of clashes between political rivals. But the violence failed to deter voters who came out in large numbers, recording a 79.22% voter turnout.

The Election Commission (EC) said that the turnout could be more as the figures were based on text messages sent by polling officials from the field till 5 pm.

Violence

Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of West Bengal Sandeep Saxena said that one person was found murdered near a polling station and nine others were injured in clashes between political rivals.

When asked whether the incidents of violence were the highest in this phase, he said the EC “cannot compare” the number of incidents in each phase.

Referring to the incidents of violence, Saxena said a man identified as Tahirul Islam was found dead with a sharp cut on his face about 400 meters from polling station number 176 of the Domkal assembly seat. According to a Kolkata report, he was a CPI-M supporter. Saxena said it is not immediately clear whether his death was poll-related.

In another area of the same constituency, four people were hurt, two of them seriously, in a clash between rival political workers, for which 25 people have been detained.

Three other incidents of clashes were also reported from Burdwan, where crude bombs were used.

Violations

A Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader, Anwar Khan, was arrested after he defied a house arrest order for allegedly provoking party workers against EC officials.

An ex-MP, Manan Hussian, who was earlier with Congress and is now with the ruling TMC, was found violating the model code by being present in a constituency of which he is not a member. As per electoral laws, politicians of one constituency are not allowed to enter another 48 hours before polling begins.

Saxena said the voter turnout stood at 84.83% in the 2011 assembly polls, while it was 81.80% in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in these constituencies.