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Image: CPI-M protest rally Kamarhati against irregularities and violence at Noapara bye-poll.  

Kolkata: THE bye-polls at Uluberia Lok Sabha constituency in Howrah and Noapara Assembly segment in North 24-Parganas today passed off with their share of violence and irregularities.

At the end of the day, the voter turnout at Uluberia stood at 76 per cent; at Noapara the turnout figure was recorded at 75.3 per cent. These are, however, provisional figure and the final tally may go up by a few notches, the Election Commission said.

The polling had begun at 7 in the morning and right from the start, opposition parties CPI-M, Congress, and BJP accused the ruling Trinamool of resorting to highhandedness and violence.

As the day grew, CPI-M cadres blocked the road at Barasat’s Chapadali More against the alleged failure of the Election Commission to ensure free and fair polls. They alleged that in as many as 319 booths in Noapara, Trinamool henchmen had driven out CPM polling agents even as security personnel remained a mute spectator. CPI-M organised protests at Naihati and Kamarhati as well.

The Congress separately organised a demonstration in front the administrative building at Barrackpore to highlight irregularities in the poll being carried out allegedly by Trinamool.

The situation at Uluberia was not any better. There, the strife was mostly between Trinamool and BJP. The saffron party workers alleged that Trinamool had taken control of most of the polling booths and was not allowing opposition supporters to cast their votes.

A BJP camp office was also demolished at Uluberia’s Gangarampur allegedly by Trinamool cadres. This led to a clash between BJP and Trinamool cadres that spilled on to the streets. Angry BJP cadres blocked the road in protest, which was later forcibly lifted by police.

Uluberia seat had fallen vacant after Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed died of a cardiac arrest on 4 September. Noapara Assembly seat was lying vacant following the death of Congress MLA Madhusudan Ghose on 18 August.

The counting of votes will be on 1 February, Thursday, from 8 in the morning.

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