West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) on Sunday announced that counting of votes for Saturday’s civic elections will not take place on October 7 and a fresh date for counting will be announced later.It appears that the WBSEC is apparently convinced with the Opposition CPM and BJP which have lodged hundreds of complaints with the poll panel alleging that polls on Saturday were reduced into a farce as the ruling Trinamool Congress resorted to unprecedented violence, vote loot and booth capturing with help from outsiders and miscreants who were close to the ruling party.
Two municipal corporations of Bidhannagar and Asansol and several municipal wards under the previous Bally Municipality which has been merged with the Howrah Municipal Corporation, went into polls on Saturday. Elections to the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad had also taken place on the same day.
“The counting of votes for municipal corporations of Bidhannagar and Asansol and Bally municipality was supposed to take place on October 7. But we have received several complaints from different political parties about electoral malpractices and have decided to probe into those allegations. Therefore, we have decided not to go for counting of votes on October 7. We will investigate into the allegations made by several political parties and then decide the date for counting of votes in the three civic bodies,” state election commissioner Sushanta Ranjan Upadhaya announced late on Sunday evening.
He, however refused to reply question whether the commission was considering demands made by Opposition political parties to cancel Saturday’s civic polls in Bengal. “Nothing can be said about cancellation of Saturday’s election right now. We will go through the video footage and other documents and examine ourselves about the validity of the allegations made by political parties before announcing next date for counting of votes,” Upadhaya said on Sunday.
The Opposition CPM and BJP demanded re-election in both Bidhannagar and Asansol municipal corporations, alleging that votes were looted amid violence by the ruling party workers and miscreants owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress.”Elections at Bidhannagar and Asansol have become a farce as lakhs of genuine voters could not cast their votes due to threats and intimidation by outsiders owing allegiance to the ruling Trinamool Congress. We demand re-election in both these civic bodies and the Opposition Left Front has also demanded repolling at Bally also where several wards had gone into polls on Saturday,” CPM polit bureau member and Opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra said.