A very low voter turnout may mar by-elections due in Rejinagar, scheduled for February 23, thanks to the twoday bandh called by trade unions across the country. However, on Tuesday, the Left Front in Murshidabad declared that there would be no bandhat Rejinagaron February 20 and 21.
Bye-elections have been scheduled at Rejinagar, where the seat has been lying empty since the resignation of former Congress MLA Humayun Kabir, who quit following a dispute with Behrampore MP Adhir Chowdhury. Kabir resigned from the Congress party on November 20 last year to join the Trinamool Congress.
Under directions from the Election Commission, bypolls will take place at Rejinagar on February 23. The last date for the election campaign is February 21. However,the 48-hour bandh may get in the way of last minute campaigns in the area and hinder the safe arrival of voters to Rejinagar who work at different parts of the country.
An administrative source said that in the 2011 Assembly elections there were 1,88,612 voters at Rejinagar. Now, the figure has reached 2,02,235 for the bypolls. “But we’re still expecting a low turnout in the number of labourers coming from different corners of the country. We think most of them will not come to Rejinagar to cast their vote.”
In the assembly election 2011, 82.44% votes were cast at Rejinagar. Former Congress MLA Kabir got 77,542 (49.74%) votes, defeating his closest competitor Sirajul Islam from the RSP. Islam got 68,781 votes (44.12%).Political observers said the bandh would definitely leave an impact on the election result because a triangular contest between Congress, Trinamool and RSP is likely to take place at Rejinagar.
However, CPI(M) district secretary Mriganka Bhattacharya said, “The two-day band hwill have no impact on voter turnouts or on the election campaigns. There will be no bandh in Belganga I and II on either February 20 or 21. As a result, it will not be difficult for voters to reach Rejinagar to cast their vote on February 23.”
Bhattacharya added that since train movements are likely to remain unaffected across the state, it wouldn’t be hard forvoters to reach the area. “We don’t plan to create obstacles to the election campaign,” the district secretary said.
However, the minister of state (Mos)for animal resource development and Trinamool’s Rejinagar nominee Humayun Kabir said, “Due to the two-day bandh across the country, people who work in other states and districts would definitely face problems in reaching Rejinagar to cast their vote. Local administration will take all the steps necessary to keep vehicle movement normal,” Kabirsaid.