An abnormally low voter turnout and a huge police force in picnic mood marked the civic body repoll farce in some booths in Salt Lake on Friday. The voter turnout in Asansol was better and results for both the municipalities would be announced on Saturday.
In the courts, the state got a breather on Friday over the appointment of interim election commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay with Justice Dipankar Datta despite strong comments in the morning reserved his verdict till November 23 after a marathon seven- hour hearing. What this means is that should the verdict go against the government, all measures taken by Alapan Bandyopadhyay would be declared null and void. The civic polls in Salt Lake went to the Calcutta high court after Amitava Majumdar, a voter from Salt Lake, had moved a petition praying for a stay on the repoll process.
On the ground, most voters of the nine booths of Salt Lake where repelling was held boycotted the exercise just like all the opposition parties. The booths wore a deserted look and cops on duty were in a holiday mood. While the polling percentage in Salt Lake on October 3 was 77.8%, it managed to just about cross the kiss 30% mark on Friday. At the FD Community Hall polling station, only 90 voters out of the 654 turned up. But in Asansol, the voting percentage was a high 70%.
What accounted for the low voter turnout in Salt Lake on Friday. It seemed residents of this satellite township of Kolkata decided to protest silently against the hooliganism and violence of October 3. Hence, be it the polling booth at ATI, AB-AC block or BD school, all the booths where repelling was held went without voters. But, stung by the severe criticism, the government on Friday ensured that there was no lax in security.