West Bengal Civic Elections: On February 27, around 95 lakh people exercised their franchise to decide the fate of over 8,000 candidates. The municipal elections were earlier to be held on January 22, but were delayed due to deteriorating COVID-19 situation. The ruling Trinamool Congress took an early lead in three municipalities in West Bengal after the counting of votes in 107 municipalities began on Wednesday morning, news agency PTI reported.
Till 9.30 am, TMC was on its way to victory over 46 municipalities. As the counting of votes began at 8 am, the party took an early lead in Mekhaliganj and Mathabhanga municipalities in North Bengal’s Cooch Behar district and Raghunathpur municipality in Purulia district. On February 27, around 95 lakh people exercised their franchise to decide the fate of over 8,000 candidates. Top contenders include the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress.
Elections for civic bodies were originally set to take place on January 22, but they were postponed because of the worsening Covid-19 situation throughout India caused by the Omicron variant. The ruling Trinamool Congress first emerged victorious in the recent elections in all five civic bodies, including the high-profile Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday wrote to the State Election Commission demanding re-polling in the presence of Central Forces (CAPFs) in all booths of 108 municipalities, news agency ANI reported. The BJP alleged that the police and the state election commission have failed to ensure free and fair elections. The BJP maintains that there have been several incidents of rigging and attacks, and therefore, re-polling is necessary under the supervision of central police forces in the state.
The letter to the SEC read, “As you are aware, West Bengal witnessed widespread violence, attacks, arson and complete failure of the law and order machinery, in all 108 municipalities which went to polls today. The violence was unleashed by goons, anti-social and workers of the ruling All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), along with the active participation of the West Bengal police and administration, including poll officials.”
There were sporadic incidents in the West Bengal civic polls, ranging from vandalism at a polling station to attacks on policemen. Clashes broke out between supporters of different parties in Jangipur. In Berhampur town of Murshidabad, Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a local Lok Sabha member, faced blockade by TMC workers as he was on his way to cast his vote.