Re-polling in Bengal largely peaceful, 1 dead

| | Kolkata

Even as it took 29 deaths for the police administration to wake up and act like a police force, the Wednesday’s re-polling in a record 572 booths spread across 19 districts were largely peaceful with some stray incidents of booth capturing and “only” one death as compared to 21 casualties that marred the May 14 elections.

This apart, in an unusual development a sub-divisional magistrate was manhandled by a crowd of polling officials who were demanding adequate security after a presiding officer was abducted from his booth and later murdered late on Monday evening. His body was thrown by the railway tracks off Raiganj in North Dinajpur district. The Government hurriedly ordered a CID investigation into the incident, sources said.

The sole death that took place on Wednesday was at Goalpokhar in North Dinajpur where the supporter of an Independent candidate was reportedly shot dead by Trinamool Congress men, sources said. The second incident was reported from Ratua block in Malda where booths were captured by masked musketeers who looted ballot boxes and drove away the election officials. The police however acted on time to retrieve the stolen boxes after which polling started.

In a role reversal of sorts the police seemed to discharge their true duties instilling confidence even in voters who had sustained bullet injuries during May 14 to return limping at the re-polling stations to cast their votes, sources said from Murshidabad, and Amdanga in North 24 Parganas.

By 4 pm the booths reported about 70 percent polling with long queues of voters waiting outside polling stations, State Election Commission sources said. Counting will take place on Thursday.



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