BIG SURPRISE UNLIKELY, TRINAMUL SET TO CAPTURE MOST MUNICIPALITIES
By bappaditya paul
WEST BENGAL IS WAITING IN BATED BREATH for counting of votes on Tuesday morning for the high-voltage Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls held on 18 April and the elections to another 91 civic bodies in the state conducted on 25 April.
The two-phase elections marred by violence and electoral malpractices such as massive false voting, booth capturing, intimidation of voters etc are unlikely to throw up a major surprise; the ruling Trinamul Congress is expected to capture most of the 92 civic bodies (complete list below).
Spread over 19 districts, including Kolkata, the total number of municipal constituencies that went to vote is 2036.
Another 54 constituencies were pocketed uncontested, mostly by the Trinamul Congress. As result, the ruling party is already in a majority at Arambagh and Tarakeswar in Hooghly and Gayeshpur in Nadia.
A re-poll conducted on Monday in 36 booths spread over 10 civic bodies in the districts passed off peacefully, recording a voter turnout of 70 per cent.
Of them a majority 24 booths were in North 24-Parganas, where police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse a non-voter crowd that had gathered outside a polling booth in Garulia.
The counting of votes will start at 8 on Tuesday morning and is likely to be over by 2 in the afternoon.
In Kolkata, the number of counting venue is 12. For the remaining 91 civic bodies, the counting centres are either located within their respective jurisdictions or at a venue in the respective district towns.
State election commissioner Sushanta Ranjan Upadhaya said that all the counting halls have been quipped with CCTV cameras and the entire counting process would be video recorded.
“There will be a two-tier security arrangement at the counting centres, with the outer tier being manned by armed police personnel. There will be both general observers and counting observers to supervise the counting,” he said.