Repoll ordered at snag-hit Salt Lake booth
Districts do an encore in joint entrance results
Fans go berserk to protest slur on Azharuddin

Calcutta, June 30: 
The State Election Commission on Friday ordered a repoll on Sunday at booth number 3A of ward 16 in Salt Lake, where an electronic voting machine had developed technical snags during counting on Wednesday. Consequently, counting was withheld.

Experts from Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), which manufactured the machine, failed to put it right.

In another develpment, Calcutta High Court on Friday refused to entertain a prayer from CPM district secretariat member, Amitava Nandi, who sought its intervention in the �deadlock� created in Salt Lake�s ward 16. At around 4.15 pm, Bikash Bhattacharya, on behalf of the North 24-Parganas district CPM, appealed to the court of Justice KJ Sengupta to hear the case on Friday, as it was urgent.

Justice Sengupta said as court time was over, the petitioner should appeal to chief justice A.K. Mathur. Chief justice permitting he would hear the matter on Saturday. Bhattacharya did just that.

Bar Association secretary and Trinamul Congress leader Arunava Ghosh told the chief justice�s secretary that he was opposing Bhattacharya�s move.

The chief justice said: �The court cannot assign the matter for hearing on an emergency basis now as the matter is political. The case cannot be filed before Monday.��

Meanwhile, ECIL experts from Hyderabad, called by the state election commission, failed to activate the machine. Around 11 am, the expert team, led by Koteswar Rao and S. Dasgupta, started examining the EVM in the presence of the candidates, election agents, polling agents of different political parties and mediamen. Even after hours, they achieved little. Ultimately, they found out that a component of the machine�s memory bank was defective. Rao announced that the defunct component could not be repaired.

�The EVM was functioning during voting because the total number of votes cast was recorded. It developed a snag later and we don�t know yet how it happened. But the fault can�t be corrected,�� Rao said. Immediately, CPM election agents demanded to know why a faulty machine was provided. District magistrate Alapan Bandopadhyay pacified them saying it was accidental.

Bandopadhyay sent a report to the state election commission on how the machine could not be repaired. The ECIL also submitted a separate report after which the commission ordered a repoll at the booth.

The votes of this booth will be the deciding factor in the formation of the municipal board since both the Left Front and Trinamul Congress have won 11 seats each out of 23 wards.

The repoll order is bad news for the CPM as the area is dominated by BJP supporters. Mamata Banerjee has already shown keen interest in the matter and is willing to personally supervise the voting process.    

Calcutta, June 30: 
In keeping with the trend set by the Madhyamik results, the districts have stolen a march over Calcutta in the Joint Entrance Examination for admission to engineering and medical colleges in the state.

The joint entrance results were declared on Friday. The examinations were held in April this year.

Manis Kumar Rathi, a student of Midnapore Collegiate School, stood first among candidates seeking admission to engineering courses. His schoolmate, Subhashis Ray, was first among the candidates in the medical section.

St Xavier�s, St Lawrence, Hindu, Bethune, Gokhale, Jodhpur Park Boys and Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission figured in the joint entrance merit list.

JEE board authorities said 10,897 candidates have qualified in the examinations this time. A total 47,577 candidates took the examinations. While 10,000 students have qualified for admission to the engineering colleges, 897 were selected for admission to the medical colleges. There are a total of 4,500 seats in the engineering colleges. In the medical colleges, the total number of seats is 550.

The results will be displayed in all engineering and medical colleges from Saturday, and will also be available on the internet.

Admission to be tougher

Reputed schools in the city are likely to set high cut-off marks for admission at the higher secondary level after a substantial increase in the number of first divisioners in the Madhyamik results.

The schools expect a rush for admission forms from next week, after the distribution of marksheets to the students on Friday.

Soon after the marksheets were delivered, anxious parents and students made frantic inquiries about admission norms.

A rough analysis of the probable cut-off percentages of a cross -section of schools revealed that candidates who have scored 85 per cent and above in aggregate would be able to seek admission to the science stream in the reputed schools. Students averaging more than 75 per cent will be eligible for admission to commerce. For humanities, the better schools are likely to set a cut-off aggregate of 70 per cent. At total 82,127 candidates have passed in the first division, which is 7,000 more than the number last year.

�We have not yet chalked out the requirements. But the cut-off marks will surely be higher this time,� said an official of South Point School. The official said students who had passed Madhyamik from the school would be accommodated first. Students from other schools will be offered seats only if there are any available.

South Point sent up 759 candidates for Madhyamik, of whom 733 passed in the first division. Among them, 319 scored more than 80 per cent. There are 32 students who were awarded more than 90 per cent marks.

�Where is the scope for an external student to get a seat in this situation?� said Somesh Dutta, a student from a school in Salt Lake.

Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission school authorities have already taken a decision to distribute admission forms to candidates who have secured 85 per cent and above in aggregate.

Schools like Patha Bhavan, Carmel Convent, St Xavier�s, St Lawrence might relax the cut-off percentages for their students.

Scottish Church Collegiate and Gokhale Memorial will announce their criteria next week.    

Calcutta, June 30: 
Tension gripped Howrah town and its adjoining areas on Friday as a large number of youngsters, fans of former Indian skipper Azharuddin, went on a rampage, protesting certain items in a Bengali daily which, they claimed, had �tainted the image of their favourite star.�

In an orgy of violence since Thursday night, irate youth set two police vehicles and a CTC bus on fire and damaged two more private buses.

On Friday morning, an angry mob put up road blocks at various points on National Highway 6 and the police had to resort to lathicharge to disperse the crowd. In all, 68 persons have been arrested and remanded to judicial custody.

Surajit Kar Purakayastha, SP, Howrah, said things were under control. However, shops and other business establishments remained closed throughout the day.

An all-party meeting was held in the morning and a procession taken out by local political leaders who urged the residents to maintain peace in the area. Tapan Das, president of Intuc youth wing, said: �We will try to prevent the recurrence of such incidents�.

Trouble began around 8 pm on Thursday when a group of residents assembled at Bankra Bazar and started discussing a feature and a letter to the editor published in the same daily in which a school teacher of Howrah flayed Azhar for playing the �minority card� and launched a diatribe against a particular community.

Heated arguments followed as the crowd started swelling. According to a local resident, some youth vented their ire on a police van parked in front of a local club near the market.

Later, the mob went berserk and started attacking every passing vehicle. A minibus was also plunged into a nearby pond.

The Howrah police rushed to the spot with reinforcements . The mob pelted stones at the police personnel, too, forcing them to resort to a lathicharge. At least three policemen were injured.

Manikkrishna Sarkar, DSP (traffic), said: �Many roads were blocked in the area�.

S.K. Gupta, district magistrate, Howrah, chose not to comment on the cause of the violence but expressed disappointment at the irrational attitude of the mob.    


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