Malda votes 78%. but is it for a change for better? | india | Hindustan Times
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Malda votes 78%. but is it for a change for better?

india Updated: Apr 19, 2011 16:51 IST
Arindam Sarkar

Never before has the district witnessed such a huge turnout during any election in recent times. More than 78% people cast their vote in the first phase of the polls in Malda to decide the fate of contesting candidates in 12 assembly segments.

A significant factor that did not go unnoticed both to Congress and Trinamool was the heavy turnout of women voters. They came out to vote from the morning and stood for hours in the queues to vote. “This is a significant indicator that every house came out to vote. They don’t want to spoil their votes. And they are voting for change,” said Congress MP Mausam Benazir Noor.

Both in urban and rural areas, people turned out at the 2,609 polling booths from early morning and cast their votes till very late in the evening. More than 20,79,770 voters cast their votes for 71 candidates in fray in the assembly elections in this district.

Apart from stray incidents, elections here were virtually peaceful. Held amid tight security, with more than 112 CRPF companies and state police manning polling stations and helping people cast their votes peacefully.

“Unlike previous occasions, there was no excitement and no violence. There was no public enmity between the contesting parties. What’s most remarkable is the high polling percentage,” said CPI(M) district secretary Jibon Moitra.

However, despite the high turnout, heavy minority and women voting, peaceful elections and no apparent rigging, neither CPI(M) nor Congress are completely certain of what holds for them in the future.

In 2006 assembly polls, out of 11 assembly seats (before delimitation) in the district, the Left Front won seven and Congress four. But in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Congress won both North and the South parliamentary constituencies and took a lead in all 12 assembly segments (formed after delimitation).

“How can we say that we will get anything less than what we got in 2006? We are hoping to add two more seats and those are Mothabari and Malatipur,” said Moitra. Ratua is a prestigious seat for CPI(M), where party minister Sailen Sarkar is contesting.

Congress district president and MP AH Khan Chowdhury, happy with voter turnout and rigging-free polls, said people have cast their votes for the alliance. “The Congress-Trinamool alliance will form the next government,” he said.

But Mausam Noor is slightly cagey. She said it’s difficult to judge what’s on the minds of the people. But I feel they are looking for change and development. “Therefore, we can be hopeful of winning most seats in this district,” she said.