Agartala: Polling to 222 seats of 13 urban local bodies including Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) started with allegations of large-scale violence and severe malpractices this morning. The state election commission (SEC) sources said about 26 per cent of vote casting registered in the first three hours of polling.
The opposition Trinamool Congress and CPI-M have been accusing the ruling BJP of pulling out the voters from the booths, preventing opposition supporters and polling agents from entering the booths, a few video clippings showed that BJP cadres are pressing EVM buttons of voters inside the compartments and candidates of a few places of AMC were not allowed to cast their vote.
According to the report, police have picked up around 44 youths from different locations of AMC since morning on the charge of intimidating voters, booth jamming, threatening polling agents of opposition parties and creating nuisance inside the polling stations. Two TMC candidates of Ward No. 13 and 40 of AMC alleged that they were not allowed to get inside the booths for exercising their franchise and the TMC candidate of Ward No. 51 of AMC was beaten up.
“Our polling agents and few of non-BJP workers were assaulted in presence of police and election officials at a polling station in Shyamalibazar school of VIP colony where State Election Commissioner, Chief Secretary and DGP are residing just before the statement of vote by some outsiders,” alleged TMC candidate of Ward No. 5 of AMC Shyamal Pal.
He also alleged that BJP goons have attacked his residence in the VIP area last night and repeatedly the miscreants warned him not to go out for voting or supervising the electioneering. A large number of outsiders from Mohanpur and Jirania were brought yesterday and put up in various hostels in the city for perpetrating violence and triggering terror to prevent the voters.
“Despite sharing the specific details with local police, no action was taken; rather the BJP cadres came from outside openly obstructing the opposition voters from polling. The same situation is prevailing in almost all 51 constituencies and the election has become farced at the behest of the ruling party even after repeated directions from Supreme Court,” said TMC state convener Subal Bhowmik adding that matter has been taken up to Supreme Court today.
The CPI-M has also raised the same allegations against the ruling BJP and said SEC and police were informed about the hooliganism of the ruling party cadres yesterday but appropriate and adequate measures have not been taken. As a result, since early this morning most of the localities of 439 polling stations of AMC turned into ‘war zone’.
The whole night long intimidation and threats allegedly by BJP goons across AMC have terrorised the situation. Hours before the beginning of voting, CPI-M state secretary Jitendra Chowdhury last night rushed to the Supreme Court to seek its intervention to ensure a free and fair civic body poll, Left Front Chairman Narayan Kar said.