The second phase of the assembly polls in Bengal for 50 seats went off peacefully on Saturday, with 85% turnout recorded till 6:30 pm and voters still waiting in queues in different polling stations of the three districts of Nadia, Murshidabad and Birbhum.
While Saturday’s polling already was higher than the 84% polled on April 18, it appeared to cross the 85.33% turnout of phase two in 2006. Long lines of voters were seen at booths from early morning. A total of 9,351,325 votes were polled till 5 pm.
“There is no question, no doubt that a new government will be formed in Bengal and the Left will be ousted. In the second phase, like the first phase, the winds of change grew stronger,” said Partha Chatterjee, secretary general of the Trinamool Congress.
The second phase of polling was marked by eight independent candidates backed and encouraged by dissident Congress leaders such as Adhir Choudhury in Murshidabad and Shankar Singh in Nadia. Each of them backed four candidates in their districts.
“I do not fight in the elections to lose. I have supported independent candidates, all of whom will win,” claimed Choudhury. In Birbhum’s Nalhati constituency, Saturday’s polls sealed the fate of Congress candidate Abhijit Mukherjee, son of union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. In Domkol, Murshidabad, state panchayat minister Anisur Rehman’s fate was sealed.
“Voting has been peaceful, barring some stray cases,” said Sunil Gupta, chief electoral officer during a press conference.
Abusing Didi: CM raps CPM leader
West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Saturday censured veteran CPI(M) leader Anil Basu for allegedly using abusive language against Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee at an election meeting and asked him to be cautious in the future.
Bhattacharjee said in a statement "use of such words is unpardonable and unbecoming of a communist leader."
The Trinamool Congress demanded stern action by the Election Commission. Meanwhile, the EC said it has asked for CD and other material to go substantiate the charge.