Kolkata: This Panchayat election in Bengal will go down in the history for several bizarre happenings ~ forcing candidates to withdraw nominations at the nomination hall itself to stamping false votes at the counting table.
In yet another addition to this, the State Election Commission (SEC) has ordered a re-polling in two booths at Fulbari-I Gram Panchayat under Rajganj block in Jalpaiguri district as miscreants had snatched away some ballot papers during the counting of votes yesterday.
This is even as the counting of votes for the three-tier Panchayat poll across Bengal is already over and the Trinamool has captured nearly 90 per cent of the seats.
The re-poll at Fulbari-I GP will be taken on 20 May Sunday in polling booth no 189/1 and 189/2 housed in Ambikanagar Primary School. Though located in the limits of Jalpaiguri district, the area is closer to Siliguri.
Also, Rajganj happens to be the constituency from where north Bengal Trinamool’s poster leader and state tourism minister Goutam Deb was elected. Fulbari-I GP, where the two re-poll bound booths are located was in Trinamool’s kitty but for the past three years, BJP has been gaining in strength.
State Election Commission officials today said that the re-polling has been ordered following a complaint by BJP candidate Dolly Sutradhar about ballot snatching, which the Jalpaiguri district magistrate found true following a probe. The re-poll will be taken under the provision in section 74 of the West Bengal Panchayat Election Act 2003.
With Trinamool already pocketing most of the Panchayat seats in the state, voters might tend to get influenced while voting during the re-poll. Moreover, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday said that many BJP and Independent winners have contacted for switching over to Trinamool.
The SEC, however, has not ordered a re-poll for polling booth 101 of Shibnibas Gram Panchayat in Nadia where casual worker hired by the administration stamped false votes on counted ballot papers on finding that Independent candidate Niladri Sukul was ahead of his nearest Trinamool rival by 220 votes.
State election commissioner Amarendra Kumar Singh today said that the matter was “addressed” yesterday itself and that a re-poll is not necessary. The commission till this evening did not notify the winner for the seat.