Hindusthan Samachar
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Electorate prevented from casting votes in Coochbehar

By HindusthanSamachar | Publish Date: Apr 11 2019 12:45PM
Electorate prevented from casting votes in Coochbehar
By Ankur Bhattacharya Several TMC workers were armed with sticks and other countrymade weapons They forcefully prevented several voters in a number of polling booths at Silalkuchi Voters were standing in queues to cast their ballots and were asked to return home Sitalkuchi (Coochbehar) / Kolkata, Apr 11 (HS): In a desperate bid to disrupt the elections, large number of voters including many women were today prevented from casting their ballots in a number of polling booths at Silalkuchi area, bordering Bangladesh, in Coochbehar district allegedy by Trinamool Congress workers despite the presence of state armed police there. According to reports reaching the office of state Chief Electoral Officer Ariz Aftab, several TMC workers armed with sticks and other countrymade weapons forcefully prevented several voters in a number of polling booths in this bordering area from standing in queues to cast their ballots and were asked to return home for their safety. Some of them even torn the saris of some women voters who stood in line defying such orders from the ruling party workers, the report said and even blamed the state police personnel who despite being present on the spot, refused to intervene and stood as mute spectators. As a result large number of electorate left the queues without exercising their franchise, the reports said adding that even the BJP polling agent was not allowed to enter the booth by these miscreants. However, following reports to the Sector Officials, some senior leaders of the party reached the spot and tried to normalise the situation and requested the very few voters who were yet to leave, to cast their votes. ''We do not know what will happen to us and our families if we still vote'', said one of the electorate who did not want to be identified for obvious reasons. When the issue was brought to the notice of the district administration and the Election Commission they promised prompt action and ensured that the polling would begin soon and would be held in a free and fair manner unlike what had happened during the last hour. Meanwhile, reports of similar incidents and those of EVM malfunctioning and booth jamming were also pouring in from some other areas of this North Bengal district which has gone to the polls today along with neighbouring Alipurduar district. About 17 candidates in Coochbehar constituency including those of TMC, BJP, CPI-M and Congress are in the fray, while a total of 11 party nominees are fighting in Alipurduar. Though 87 companies of Central forces have been deployed in both the Lok Sabha constituencies, they are manning in about 60 per cent of the total 3844 booths, while the rest are being manned by the state Armed Police who had failed miserably to ensure a peaceful poll during the last year''s Panchayat elections in the state. Hindusthan Samachar/Ankur/Shri Ram Shaw\
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