Amid accusations and counter-accusations of violence, brisk
polling was reported Sunday during elections for six civic bodies
in West Bengal - being viewed as a barometer of the popularity of
the Mamata Banerjee government.
According to the State Election Commission, 85 percent voting was
recorded in the six civic bodies - Durgapur Municipal Corporation
in Burdwan district, and municipalities of Panskura and Haldia in
East Midnapore, Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri, Cooper's Camp in Nadia and
Nalhati in Birbhum district.
The ruling Trinamool Congress claimed the polls were peaceful. But
opposition Left Front and Congress disagreed.
The allies in the union and state governments - Trinamool and
Congress - are fighting separately for the first time after last
year's assembly polls.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front,
contesting in almost all the 129 seats, accused the Trinamool of
instigating violence and intimidating voters and has demanded for
re-poll in 29 booths.
"The polls have been marred by incidents of all round violence.
The Trinamool Congress had resorted to all sorts of violent
methods in the elections, Left Front chairman Biman Bose told
"From false voting in many booths to intimidating voters, driving
out our polling agents and beating and threatening our candidates,
they have done it all to ensure the polls are not peaceful," he
The Congress questioned the role of the administration.
"The administration was a mute spectator as Trinamool backed
miscreants tried to influence the voters by resorting to violence.
Had the administration been impartial, such incidents would not
have taken place," state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya
Trinamool Congress leader Subhendu Adhikari however rubbished the
allegations, pointing to the large turnout as an indicator.
The poll results to be declared Tuesday would also be an indicator
on whether the opposition Left Front has succeeded in regaining
In 2007, the Left Front had won in three of the six civic bodies.
The Congress won two while Congress-Trinamool alliance bagged one.
Nalhati has generated keen interest because the Congress campaign
was being led by local legislator Abhijit Mukherjee, son of Union
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.