The final round of polling in Kolkata saw a huge turnout, partly prompted by good weather, despite stray incidents of violence across the city and its suburbs. A Trinamool Congress worker was killed in Barasat constituency late last night.
Kolkata beat Delhi (53 per cent) and Mumbai (43 per cent) and recorded a 70 per cent turnout on Wednesday, when 11 Lok Sabha seats went to polls in the state.
“It was really exciting to cast my first vote. I would always accompany my parents, but this was the first time I was able feel the enthusiasm of voting. It was a great feeling to be part of the democratic process,” said Aninda Nandi, a student of Geology in Presidency College.
The same enthusiasm was visible in most places across the city where people stood in queues for hours to vote. Pleasant weather brought on by two days of squall also played its part.
Even CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat said after voting that “weather is very good and the country’s political situation is also very good”.
Politicians, including Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Pranab Mukherjee, Biman Bose, and Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi as well as film personalities like Rituparna Sengupta, Ranjit Mullick, magician PC Sorcar were seen waiting in queues.
However, for the first time, Jyoti Basu couldn’t vote. The CPM partriarch, who has been unwell of late and confined indoors, fell down in his residence this morning and suffered a minor injury.
Much like the previous two phases in West Bengal, this time too violence marred the otherwise peaceful elections.
Shaminul Haque, a Trinamool worker, was killed during a clash with CPM activists at Baliguri under Barasat constituency late last night, police said.
Forward Bloc’s Barasat candidate Sudin Chattopadhyay alleged that he had been attacked by Trinamool workers, who also assaulted his security guard and damaged his car near Ashoknagar.
SP Supratim Sarkar said clashes had been reported from suburbs like Khardah, Barasat, Basirhat and Jagaddal areas, where more than 25 people were injured. At Bhangor under Jadavpur constituency, two persons were injured while at Joynagar’s Bulongaria area, nine people were injured and two persons went missing after a Trinamool-CPM clash.
A tense Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee, who is contesting from Kolkata South, charged the CPM of booth capturing and threatening voters. She preferred to stay indoors making occasional appearances to meet the press.