Sabang: Assembly byelection began on a dull note today with just 15 per cent electorates exercising their franchise in the first two hours, an Election Commission (EC) official said. “The byelection is being held amid tight security with eight companies of central forces deployed in the constituency,” the EC official said. Altogether 245,259 voters will exercise their franchise for the bypoll, he added
The opposition CPI(M) and the BJP accused the ruling TMC of driving away their election agents from the polling booths, an allegation which was denied by TMC leader and Rajya Sabha MP Manas Bhunia. “The allegation made by the opposition parties is completely baseless. Voting is going on peacefully in the constituency,” Bhunia said.
TMC has fielded Gita Rani Bhunia, wife of former Congress leader Manas Bhunia, who had defected to the Mamata Banerjee-led party earlier this year, necessitating the byelection.
Bhunia had won the seat in last year’s assembly polls. The BJP has nominated Antara Bhattacharya, while the Congress has fielded Chiranjib Bhowmick, a local leadeer. Rita Mandal of the CPI(M) will contest the fray as a Left Front candidate.
Political analysts feel that TMC will have an advantage with Congress and the Left fighting the by-poll separately. A large section of the CPM’s district leaders feel that an alliance with Congress like in the last Assembly election would have helped both the parties.