The by-election to Sagardighi Assembly constituency in Murshidabad on Monday saw a turnout of 73.4 per cent voters, which is deemed impressive for a bypoll. The bypoll — which is a three-pronged fight between Trinamul’s Debasish Banerjee, Dilip Saha of the BJP, and Bairon Biswas of the Congress— was necessitated by the untimely death of its sitting MLA, Subrata Saha of Trinamul.
Saha had been a three-time MLA from the seat since 2011 and a minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet.
The Telegraph takes a look at the highlights of the bypoll:
■ According to the Election Commission, 73.4 per cent votes were polled till 5 pm. For bypolls, voting percentages tend to be meagre. Sagardighi bucked the trend.
■ Around 30 companies of central forces were posted in Sagardighi to ensure a free and fair poll. However, Trinamul supporters and its candidate Debasish Biswas accused central force jawans of excesses. Banerjee said that the forces prevented a woman voter from entering the polling booth in Ratanpur.
■ The ECI replaced the presiding officer of booth 53 for starting the mock poll process before polling agents came.
■ Central forces had to baton charge alleged Trinamul supporters and leaders who gathered in front of booths 47 and 48. Congress supporters had accused these Trinamul workers of preventing a free poll.
■ Some Trinamul supporters agitated in front of booths 54 and 55 alleging that police were favouring Congress workers.
■ A couple from Sekhdighi village Chandmohammad and Salma Bibi, on Monday, named their newborn son Bairon Biswas, after the Congress candidate. Expressing his joy, a beaming Biswas said: “I am very happy. I’ll go meet this child soon.”