Free Press Journal

Two polling officials removed during Bengal polls


Kolkata: Two polling officials were removed and seven preventive arrests made Wednesday during the third phase of Lok Sabha polls in nine constituencies spread across four districts of West Bengal.

According to chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta, the presiding officer of the Moigram Primary School booth in Hooghly’s Arambagh was removed for illegally allowing a person to enter the voting compartment and cast the vote of another person.

Another polling official was removed in Mangalkote of Burdwan district for slow pace of voting.

“We removed the presiding officer in Arambagh for allowing another person to come near the voting compartment and cast the vote of another person. We have also initiated action against the person who cast the vote.

“In Mangalkote the polling officers was removed after we received complaints that the polling process was extremely slow in the booth,” said Gupta.

Gupta also claimed that the voting was “fair, free and peaceful” and said that no reports of any violence, booth capturing, obstruction to voters or any other unlawful activity disrupting the poll process was received.

He said seven preventive arrests were made from Sreerampore, Arambagh and Hooghly in Hooghly districs.

Besides getting complaints from various political parties, Gupta said the Commission acted upon 92 complaints taking cognisance from media reports. The EC also received 27 written complaints during the day which too were immediately acted upon.

Though he refused to comment about the number of booths in which repolling has been sought by various political parties, Gupta said the commission will scrutinise the complaints and take a decision Thursday.

The third phase of polls involving 17,332 booths witnessed the deployment of 88,756 poll personnel including nine general observers, nine expenditure observers, four police observers and 2,889 micro observers.

While 20,798 EVMs were used including 20 percent of them as reserves, the EC replaced 44 of the devices which had malfunctioned. Besides deploying an Air Force helicopter for air surveillance, 566 webcams, and 1,631 video cams were pressed into service while webcasting was done in 356 polling booths.