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Jalpaiguri district administration put in all efforts to ensure peaceful counting of Dhupguri bypoll on Friday

Votes of September 5 bypoll would be counted on premises of Netaji Open University, which is in a portion of Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College

Our Correspondent Jalpaiguri Published 08.09.23, 06:51 AM
Paramilitary forces guard the premises of Netaji Subhash Open University, the counting centre, on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri town on Thursday, a day ahead of the Dhupguri bypoll results

Paramilitary forces guard the premises of Netaji Subhash Open University, the counting centre, on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri town on Thursday, a day ahead of the Dhupguri bypoll results Picture by Biplab Basak

The Jalpaiguri district administration is putting in all efforts to ensure that the counting of votes of the Dhupguri bypoll is completed peacefully without any violation of the guidelines laid down by the Election Commission of India.

On Friday, votes of the September 5 bypoll would be counted on the premises of Netaji Open University, which is in a portion of the Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College on the outskirts of the district headquarters.

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The fates of Trinamul's candidate Nirmal Chandra Roy, the BJP's Tapasi Roy and the Congress-backed CPI(M)'s Iswar Chandra Roy will be known on Friday.

The administration has made heavy security arrangements, announced prohibitory orders in and around the counting centre and will deploy police personnel strategically to ensure law and order is maintained.

“Three companies of central paramilitary forces will be deployed during the counting to start at 8am tomorrow (Friday). In addition, police personnel will be posted. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have been clamped within a 200-metre-radius of the counting centre,” said a source in the administration.

Such arrangements, sources said, were made as the byelection was held shortly after the July 8 panchayat elections. During the rural polls, allegations were levelled by the political parties in the Opposition in Bengal that malpractices were carried out in some counting centres across the state. In fact, a number of cases against such anomalies were filed at Calcutta High Court.

“Though the rural polls were conducted by the state election commission, it is evident that the Election Commission of India is aware of these complaints. That is why the administration has put in every effort to plug critical gaps and ensure that the counting is done in a free and fair manner,” said a political veteran of Jalpaiguri.

On Tuesday, the bypoll remained peaceful. Altogether, 30 companies of central paramilitary forces and around 600 state police were deployed in 260 booths on the polling date.

“We believe the counting process will also be peaceful. Counting will be carried out in 10 rounds in 14 tables at the counting centre. Around 100 employees will be engaged in the process. The trends would be clear by afternoon (Friday),” the source added.

The candidates and their designated agents can enter the counting centre. They, however, cannot carry cell phones, water bottles and some other items, said sources.

On Thursday, Jayanta Roy, the BJP MP of Jalpaiguri, requested the administration to see that other than designated persons, no one else entered the counting centre.

“We don’t want a repetition of what we saw in the rural polls. Malpractices were reported from a number of counting centres then,” said Roy.

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