Bhabanipur bypoll: 48.08% polling till 3pm, Mamata casts her vote
Voters await their turn at a polling booth in Bhabanipur. Photo: Twitter/ANI

Bhabanipur bypoll: 48.08% polling till 3pm, Mamata casts her vote

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is contesting the by-election from Bhabanipur assembly constituency, cast her vote at Mitra Institution School around 3pm on Thursday (September 30.

Banerjee, who lost from Nandigram in the assembly election earlier this year, has to win this by-poll to retain the chief minister’s post. The Trinamool Congress leader is pitted against the BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal and CPI-M’s Srijib Biswas but has won from Bhabanipur twice in the past – in 2011 and 2016.

Also read: How Congress’ decay is beneficial to Mamata’s ambition to go national

Voter turnout at the Bhabanipur stood at 48.08 per cent at 3pm.

Polling began at 7am for elections to three seats in Bengal – South Kolkata’s Bhabanipur, and Jangipur and Samserganj in Murshidabad district –and Pipili in Odisha.

Voeter turnout at Samserganj and Jangipur stood at 72.45 per cent and 68.17 percent respectively at 3pm. Pipili recorded 5.32 per cent polling till 1 pm.

Samserganj could not go to polls on April 26 – when the seventh of the eight-phase assembly election in Bengal was held – because Rezaul Haque, the Congress candidate, died of COVID-19.

The seat was won by the TMC’s Amirul Islam in 2016. He is pitted against the Congress’ Jaidur Rahaman and CPI-M’s Mohammad Modassar Hossain. The BJP has fielded Milan Ghosh, a debutant.

Polling in Jangipur was also delayed due to the death of the Revolutionary Socialist Party candidate Pradip Nandi. The TMC has fielded Jakir Hossain, a former state minister who bagged the seat in 2016. Sujit Das is the BJP candidate and Jane Alam Mian is the RSP nominee.

The Pipili bypoll was necessitated after its sitting Biju Janata Dal MLA, Pradip Maharathy, succumbed to COVID in October 2020. Then the bypoll scheduled for April 17 had to be postponed after the demise of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj just three days before the election was to happen. The bypoll was again rescheduled to May 16 after Congress fielded Bishwokeshan Harichandan Mohapatra as their candidate. However, on May 4, the Election Commission deferred the poll as the state went into Covid lockdown.

As part of its security arrangements, the Election Commission has deployed 72 companies of central forces in the three constituencies of Bengal, of which 35 are stationed in Bhabanipur alone, officials said. 

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed within 200 metres of the polling centres. 

Long queues were seen since early morning outside several booths across the constituencies. 

Voting will continue till 6 pm. All polling centres have been stocked up with masks and sanitisers as part of the COVID-19 guidelines, the officials said.

Votes will be counted on October 3. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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