Bhabanipur bypoll: EC rejects BJP claim of booth rigging, cites mock poll delay

The BJP has fielded Priyanka Tibrewal against TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and has been raising allegations of a missing level-playing field in the keenly watched constituency.
Polling underway at Mitra Institution in Bhabanipur on Thursday. (ANI)
Polling underway at Mitra Institution in Bhabanipur on Thursday. (ANI)
Updated on Sep 30, 2021 09:04 AM IST
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Byhindustantimes.com, New Delhi

The Election Commission on Thursday said there was some delay in starting the polling process in one of the booths in Bhabanipur from where West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is seeking a seat in the legislature through a bypoll.

The polling body said the delay was due to the mock poll drive exercise and not rigging of the booth as alleged by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP has fielded Priyanka Tibrewal against Banerjee and has been raising allegations of a missing level-playing field in the keenly watched constituency. “No rigging took place,” the EC said.

Also read | Calcutta HC refuses to interfere with Bhabanipur bypoll schedule

Soon after polling began at 7am in Bhabanipur, Tibrewal alleged that Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra had purposely shut the voting machine at one of the polling stations as he wanted to capture the booth at ward number 72.

Banerjee needs to win the Bhabanipur seat to retain her post of chief minister. She had lost by a narrow margin the Assembly election from Nandigram against her close aide-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari held earlier this year. 

Her party, however, romped back to power and she became the chief minister for the third straight term. 

Check live updates of the bypolls here.

The Bhabanipur seat was won by TMC veteran Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay who has now vacated the seat for Banerjee to seek a by-election win.  

Besides Bhabanipur, bypolls are being held in two other constituencies of Bengal, namely Samseganj and Jangipur, and Odisha’s Pipili.

Counting of votes is scheduled to take place on October 3.

(With inputs from bureau)

 

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Friday, December 03, 2021