Bengal civic polls begin amid fears of poll violence & tight security


Voting began for Bengal civic polls on Sunday at 7 am across 108 municipalities amid fears of poll violence and tight security. The Supreme Court on Friday had rejected a petition by a BJP leader over the deployment of central forces in the state. The polling will continue til 5 pm, the state election commision has said. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's ruling Trinamool Congress is locked in a multi-cornered contest with the BJP, the CPIM-led Left Front and the Congress. Nearly 95 lakh people - across 2,171 wards - are eligible to elect their mayors and ward representatives in the Bengal civic polls. Over 8,000 candidates are fighting the polls. In 103 wards - with only single candidate declared as uncontested winners, voting is not taking place.

Ahead of the polls, the Trinamool told its party workers to not get incited. “Our senior leaders have been telling all these to the workers. Today it (a list of dos and donts) was just compiled to remind the party-men once more ahead of the polls. The opposition knows they will lose and could hence try to incite TMC workers. Our workers were told not to lose their focus. Senior party leaders will be present in the control room on Sunday,” said Kunal Ghosh, TMC spokesperson said on the list of dos and donts published in the party mouthpiece. Hitting out the rival, BJP's Sukanta Majumdar said: “Who reads Jago Bangla? Do TMC workers know how to read? This is the double standard of the TMC. While on paper they may say such things, the ground reality is somewhat different. Hence it doesn’t matter what the leaders or the mouth piece says."

Darjeeling, Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, Jhargram, Purulia, Bankura, Purba Burdwan and Birbhum are the districts where voting is taking place.

Visuals from the polling booth on Sunday morning voters lining up in long queues.

The Bengal civic polls - earlier scheduled for January 22 - were rescheduled amid the third Covid wave that had led to a huge surge of cases in Kolkata and other parts of the state. The counting of votes will take place on March 2.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)