Kolkata: Amid opposition parties’ allegations of terror and violence by the ruling Trinamool Congress, around 60 per cent voters today cast their ballots in the election to the 144-ward Kolkata Municipal Corporation, billed as the “semifinal” before next year’s Assembly poll. Reacting to opposition charges, state Election Commissioner S R Upadhay said, “If election was held in proper atmosphere, so many complaints would not have been made. After going through all the reports we can tell you how many complaints are true and how many false.”
“60 per cent polling has been recorded till 3 PM when the voting closed, although voters’ queues are seen outside many booths,” Sabyasachi Ghosh, Officer on Special Duty, state Election Commission, told PTI.
Terming the civic poll as a “farce”, the Congress, CPI-M and BJP accused the TMC of resorting to terror to win the election, a charge rejected by TMC Secretary-General and Education Minister Partha Chatterjee. The SEC, when asked about the possibility of repoll, said that the allegations were being looked into and any decision in this regard would be taken tomorrow.
On the incidents of terror and violence, he said, “If such things really happened, it was bad for democracy”. Describing the election free and peaceful, Partha Chatterjee said that the way the people stood in long queues braving a scorching sun, it showed that the TMC-run KMC board had done enormous development under the leadership of party supremo Mamata Banerjee.
This had silenced the opposition parties which were banking on a smear campaign against Trinamool Congress rather than reposing faith in the people, he told reporters. On the other hand, CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty alleged that the ruling party unleashed “unprecedented terror to stifle the democratic rights of people”.
State BJP President Rahul Sinha demanded that the State Election Commissioner should resign, or he should cancel the election and order a fresh poll. Echoing him, WBPCC President Adhir Chowdhury said that the TMC supremo showed how the poll could be turned into a farce by using the administration.
He expressed surprise at the fact that if the TMC was so sure about winning the election, why it had to resort to terror. The results of the KMC poll will be declared on April 28, along with results of 91 other municipalities across the state, election to which will be held on April 25.