Voters wait in queue outside a polling booth in Rejinagar. Picture by Chayan Majumdar
Calcutta, Feb. 23: Bypolls in Rejinagar, Englishbazar and Nalhati today were “peaceful” with all three Assembly seats recording a turnout of over 80 per cent, poll panel officials said.
The turnout in Nalhati was the highest at 85 per cent, followed by Rejinagar at 83 per cent and Englishbazar at more than 80 per cent, district officials said.
“The polls were free, fair and peaceful. There was no incident of violence and law and order was completely under control,” chief electoral officer Sunil Kumar Gupta said.
Of the 754 polling stations in the three seats, a repoll is likely in one Nalhati booth where a voting machine developed a snag.
“We ensured 100 per cent security coverage with help from central forces. Altogether, 36 companies were deployed in the three constituencies,” Gupta said.
No political party lodged any complaint in Rejinagar, but in the other two seats all three parties — the Trinamul Congress, the Congress and the Left — accused each other of trying to influence voters.
In Nalhati, Trinamul councillor Ashok Ghosh and student leader Sarbananda Debsharma were detained on the charge of intimidating voters. The two were released after a few hours.
The Rejinagar seat fell vacant after Congress MLA Humayun Kabir joined Trinamul and was made a minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet.
In Englishbazar, too, the Congress’s Krishnendu Chowdhury switched to the ruling party. He is now the tourism minister.
In Nalhati, the bypoll was necessitated after President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit resigned as the Congress MLA after winning the Lok Sabha seat from Murshidabad’s Jangipur.