Kolkata : Voting began today for the by-elections to one Lok Sabha and one Assembly constituencies in West Bengal amid tight security. Election Commission officials said that elaborate arrangement had been been made for a free, fair and peaceful polling in the by-elections to the Bongaon (SC) Lok Sabha seat in North 24-Paraganas district and Krishnaganj (SC) Assembly seat in Nadia district. Assistant Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Amitjyoti Bhattyacharia said “polling is going on peacefully”.
Responding to an allegation that CPI(M) polling agent was not allowed to sit in a booth at Gayeshpur in Nadia district, he said “everything is normal there”. The by-polls are seen as a crucial test of popularity for the ruling Trinamool Congress at a time when the party was facing heat over the Saradha scam. Adequate central forces and state police personnel have been deployed, they said.
Eleven candidates, including two women, are contesting the Bongaon (SC) Lok Sabha seat, with the fight mainly
confined to the Trinamool Congress, CPI(M), BJP and Congress candidates. In the Krishnaganj (SC) Assembly seat five candidates are in fray. The fight here is also mainly confined between TMC, CPI(M), BJP and Congress candidates. There is an electorate of 15,65,447 in the Bongaon LS seat and an electorate of 2,44,988 in the Krishnaganj (SC) Assembly seat, the sources said.
The Bongaon LS seat fell vacant after the death of Trinamool Congress member Kapil Krishna Thakur on October 13 last year. His wife Mamatabala Thakur has been nominated byTMC to contest the by-election. The BJP has fielded Subrata Thakur for the Bongaon LS seat. Subrata is the son of Manjul Krishna Thakur who quit as a minister in Trinamool Congress government and joined the BJP last month.
Former minister Debesh Das is the CPI(M) nominee while Congress has fielded Kuntal Mondal as its candidate for the seat. In the Krishnaganj seat, the election was being held due to the death of the sitting TMC MLA Sushil Biswas on October 21 last year. TMC has fielded local party leader Satyajit Biswas for the seat. The CPI(M) has nominated a physician Apurba Biswas for the seat. The BJP has fielded professor Manabendra Roy for the seat. Congress has fielded local party activist Nityagopal Mondal for the seat.