Mamata Banerjee, who lost the Nandigram constituency to Suvendu Adhikari in the assembly election, has to win this bypoll to retain the chief minister’s post.
The Bhabanipur constituency, which has twice elected Mamata and houses her residence, initially saw a low voter turnout in the morning. However, it picked up pace as the day progressed and the constituency recorded nearly 22 percent voting till 11 am.
Mamata Banerjee is pitted against CPI(M)’s Srijib Biswas and BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal, a lawyer who came to the forefront fighting the case of alleged post-poll violence and rapes in West Bengal.
The day began with much drama after Priyanka Tibrewal alleged that TMC MLA Madan Mitra had deliberately shut down a voting machine at one of the booths in Bhabanipur.
“Madan Mitra has purposely shut the voting machine here as he wants to capture the booth,” Tibrewal said during her booth visits on Thursday.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the Bhabanipur bypoll, with the Election Commission deploying 35 of the 72 companies of central forces in the constituency.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have also been imposed within 200 metres of the polling centres.
Earlier this week, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh was allegedly manhandled while party MP Arjun Singh faced ‘go back’ slogans by ruling TMC workers while they were campaigning for Tibrewal.
Mamata Banerjee, who lost the Nandigram constituency to Suvendu Adhikari in the April-March assembly election, has to win this bypoll to retain the chief minister’s post.
Bypolls are also being held in Jangipur and Samserganj seats in Murshidabad district. Votes will be counted on October 3.