Flashing fingers after casting ballots for the first time at Siliguri
PRASHANT ACHARYA, EOI, Siliguri, 17 Apr 2016: The second phase of the state Assembly election in Siliguri and surrounding constituencies of the plains concluded peacefully with high voter turnout barring a few stray incidents.
Allegations of false voting and rigging in some booths in Siliguri and Matigara-Naxalbari areas were made by the Trinamool Congress, while the situation heated up at Siliguri Hindi High School after the CPM claimed party candidate Ashok Bhattacharya was barred from entering the polling booth. TMC booth agents said Bhattacharya tried to enter the booth with two of his supporters, but central forces personnel on duty intervened and put an end to the matter.
Meanwhile, TMC candidate Baichung Bhutia alleged some voters tried to enter polling booths with photocopy ID cards of somebody else’s. When a woman named Tuntun Prasad entered Shriguru Vidhyamandir to cast her vote, she found that somebody had already voted in her name, claimed Bhutia.
Overall though, all seven candidates including Bhattacharya and Bhutia said they were satisfied with the security arrangements set in place by the election commission. Bhattacharya said, “I am satisfied with the role played by the central security forces as no false vote and rigging took place.”
Geeta Chatterjee, BJP candidate from Siliguri, and Anandamoy Burman from Matigara-Naxalbari, expressed satisfaction with the healthy turnout and said voting was free and fair. Congress leaders too voiced satisfaction and lauded the election commissioner for the tight security arrangements.
But Gautam Deb, Trinamool Congress candidate from Dabgram Fulbari constituency, accused the CPM of casting false votes in the evening when polling was about to end. “In two booths at Dabgram, there was rigging and false votes were cast,” he said.
Voting started a bit late at some booths in the Naxalbari area after the EVMs were found to be not working properly.