Voters of four states and one Union Territory turned out in varying numbers as no less than 824 constituencies conducted their poll across West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
West Bengal once again polled a whopping 72.36 per cent till 5 pm with an hour still to go. Assam had 71.98 per cent, Puducherry 69.29%, Kerala 65.70% and Tamil Nadu 58.02 per cent.
Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry have thus completed their date with elections. Only Bengal remains and no less than with five phases of assembly elections remaining.
Bengal, as expected, was in news for wrong reasons. The day began with EVMs and VVPATs found at TMC leader Gautam Ghosh’s house. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury responded the development thus: “In West Bengal, the administration conducts poll in favour of the ruling party. That’s why in the last Panchayat polls in West Bengal, 34% of voters couldn’t vote. It resulted in an unopposed victory of the ruling part on 20,000 seats.”
Before the day drew to a close, both Trinamool Congress and BJP were at the doors of Election Commission with their respective complaints.
In Tarkeshwar, Hooghly, media persons and volunteers alleged they were pushed out by security personnel from a polling both.
“There is an accusation that a senior police officer is cutting TMC voters here. They have hit many people and abused women with an idea to ensure that people must leave. I find it objectionable that there are West Bengal Police personnel without any name tags,” said BJP’s Swapan Dasgupta.
Many voters at a polling booth in Diamond Harbour claimed that TMC workers didn’t let them vote. Dipak Haldar, BJP candidate from Diamond Harbour, South 24 Parganas, said that he has filed a complaint with the Election Commission officials about Trinamool goons not allowing people to cast their votes at booth no. 180, 143 Dagira Bduldanga.
Trinamool Congress, on their part, urged the Election Commission tot ake swift action against “BJP goons.” They alleged that Trinamool Congress candidate Sujata Mondal at Arandi-I booth no. 263 in Mahallapara was attacked. Her personal security officer has suffered injuries and is in a critical state, they alleged. “CRP personnel were silent spectators. You are called upon to apprehend the goons of BJP…,” urged party MP Derek O’ Brien.
The West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar took to twitter in due course: Violence has no place in a democracy, Every action shall be thoroughly investigated and culprits punishes. Acts of omission by some @WBPolice shall not be overlooked.”
Kamal Hassan accuses DMK, AIADMK of distributing cash
In Tamil Nadu, MNM chief Kamal Hassan accused both DMK and AIADMK of distributing huge amount of cast. “Very difficult to establish proof for the EC to take action. I hope we will do well,” he said.
Meanwhile, the AIADMK lodged a complaint against Udhaynidhi Stalin for poll code violation. The party alleged that Stalin was wearing a shirt in which his party symbol is embroidered. The Election Commission, in reply, said that the shirt doesn’t belong to AIADMK. “The symbol is of DMK youth wing. Udaynidhi is the secretary of the youth wing.
Sreedharan confident of good show by BJP
A debate over Sabrimala shrine broke out in the middle of polls in Kerala. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Lord Ayyappa and all other gods are with the LDF government. Leader of opposition, Ramesh Chennithala said the Left government would surely face the wrath of Lord Ayyappa in elections. BJP state chief K Surendran said that Vijayan’s act in Sabrimala, three years ago, were the “acts of demon” and claimed that voters would not forget his act.
Meanwhile BJP candidate from Palakkad, metro man E Sreedharan was confident that he would win with a big margin. “BJP will have an impressive show this time, there’s no doubt abut it. I will win from the Palakkad constituency with a big margin. My entry into BJP has give a different image to the party,” said Sreedharan.
Sarma says BJP in good space in Assam
In Assam, minister and BJP candidate Himanta Biswa Sarma from Jalukbar was confident that BJP would win at least 22 of the 40 seats in fray on Tuesday. “In these elections, we will win more seats. Last time we had won 84 seats, we are expecting at least 90 seats this time,” said Sarma. Bodoland Territorial Region’s chief executive member Pramod Boro said, “The opposition has no face in Assam. People are giving their mandate to NDA. UPPL and BJP will win all 8 seats of Phase 3 polls.”