Monday, 30th October 2017

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Malda Nota jitters for Congress

In Isha Khan's constituency, there are 16 candidates, the maximum one voting machine can accommodate

By Kousik Sen in Raiganj
  • Published 21.04.19, 2:04 AM
  • Updated 21.04.19, 2:04 AM
  • a min read
Isha Khan campaigns in Malda North on Saturday. Telegraph picture

Malda North Congress candidate Isha Khan Chowdhury is worried his number one position on EVMs may be mixed up with the Nota button.

In his constituency, there are 16 candidates, the maximum one voting machine can accommodate. This has necessitated two EVMs in each booth with Nota on the top in the second machine.

“I have appealed to people to press the first button. But they might get confused by two voting machines. We have requested the commission to put one machine above the table and another below to avoid such confusion. But we have not received any response so far,” Isha said on Saturday, three days before voting.

In north Bengal, this is the second time the arrangement of names has left candidates worried. Earlier, Amar Singh Rai, Trinamul’s nominee for the Darjeeling seat, had faced such a situation.

Like in Malda North, there were 16 candidates in Darjeeling. “All leaders, including Mamata Banerjee, told people to vote Rai by pressing the first button on the first machine, not the (first) Nota button on the second machine. The situation is same in Malda but this time, it is affecting the Congress candidate, not our (Trinamul) nominee Mausam Noor,” said a Trinamul leader.

Mausam, the outgoing MP, is Isha’s cousin. She had quit the Congress to join Trinamul this January.

Sources said on the EVMs, the BJP candidate’s name would be in second position and Mausam’s in the fifth.

“We came to know about it only days back and it is not possible for us to reach out to every voter. We are trying our best to spread awareness through local leaders and workers,” said Kali Sadhan Roy, a Malda Congress leader. The Malda campaign will end on Sunday.