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CPM veteran to give Modi’s digital economy campaign a hand up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Controversial politician and former CPM strongman from East Midnapore, Lakshman Chandra Seth, 70, has raised eyebrows as he has jumped ship to become the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a digital and cashless economy in West Bengal.”Our PM has given a call for going cashless and I’m trying to follow it. I have got a new smart phone which I am learning to use effectively. I will take the help of my younger son who is a computer engineer to help me with mobile banking and pay for my expenses through various apps,” he told DNA.Asked about his aligning with the BJP, Seth said no party is ‘untouchable’ in today’s world and there was no such thing as Left or Right.”Parliamentary democracy has broken the wall between what was previously called the Left and Right groupings. What matters is your contribution towards addressing key issues such as development, unemployment, health, education and inflation, and helping weaker sections of the society,” he said.Seth, an MP for 13 years—from 1996 to 2009—is also alleged to have been the mastermind of the infamous Nandigram violence in March 14, 2007, which had led to the death of 14 persons in police firing.The stain has led some state BJP leaders to question his induction into the party. A senior state BJP leader on condition of anonymity said, “Seth would be a liability to the party.” However, others seem to have welcomed the veteran politician with open arms. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh and vice-president Jayprakash Majumder claim that Seth’s name had not been mentioned in the charge-sheet filed by CBI regarding the Nandigram violence.”The BJP’s network is not very strong in East Midnapore and his (Seth’s) resources could be used to make inroads in the district,” said Majumder.A look into Seth’s past shows that the veteran’s career has been marked by controversies. Reportedly expelled from CPM in 2014 for ‘anti-party activities’ he maintained that he had quit the party. “CPM has become a party of sycophants. Party leaders have an authoritarian attitude and overlook the issue of development. That is why I had quit,” he added.After severing ties with CPM, Seth tried to float his own political party—Bharat Nirman Party (BNP), in August 2014—without much success. In 2015, BNP had contested the civic elections in East Midnapore district. It fielded six candidates from Tamluk, three from Egra, and one from Contai, but managed to win in only two from Tamluk. Later in the 2016 Assembly elections BNP had pitched about 20 candidates, including 16 from East Midnapore, but failed to win any.Seth later admitted that floating BNP was not a good idea and said it would be a wiser option to join one of the two national parties—BJP and Congress—and wiser still to join the one which was in power. Predicting doom for the Congress, he said the party has lost its foundation in Bengal.

Nandigram violence accused and expelled CPI(M) leader Lakshman Seth joins BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former CPI(M) leader Lakshman Seth, one of the main accused in the 2007 Nandigram violence case, joined BJP in presence of state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh at a programme in Tamluk of East Midnapore district today.Seth had met Ghosh at BJP’s state unit headquarters in Kolkata earlier this week and finalised his joining the party.A former MP from 1996-2009 from East Midnapore and CPI(M) state committee member, Seth was expelled from CPI(M) for “anti-party activities” in 2014.After the expulsion, he had floated Bharat Nirman Party but it failed to make any dent in the political space of the state.Seth became more well-known during the anti-land acquisition agitation in Nandigram in 2007 that led to the killing of 14 people in police firing on March 14 in 2007. The anti-land acquisition movement leaders had alleged his role had caused the flare up of violence culminating in police firing. They also blamed him for atrocities on farmers who refused to part with their land.

Accused of carnage in Nandigram, former CPI(M) MP Lakshman Seth to join BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former CPI(M) leader Lakshman Seth, one of the main accused in the 2007 Nandigram violence case, met state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh and is all set to come to the saffron party’s fold within next few days.”Today Lakhsman Seth met Dilip Ghosh and it was finalised his ‘Bharat Nirman Party’ will merge with BJP in next 3-4 days. The date is yet to be finalised,” a senior state BJP leader said.Seth, a former MP and CPI(M) state committee member, was expelled from the CPI(M) for “anti-party activities” in 2014.After expulsion from CPI(M) he had floated Bharat Nirman Party but it had failed to make any dent in the political space of the state. The CPI(M) MP from 1996-2009 from East Midnapore district, became more well-known during the anti-land acquisition agitation in Nandigram in 2007 that led to the killing of 14 people in police firing on March 14 in 2007. The anti-land acquisition movement leaders had alleged his role caused the flare up of violence culminating in the police firing and blamed him behind atrocities on farmers who refused to part with their land. PTI PNT SUS

Bengal: 14 people surrender in TMC leader murder case, sent to jail

Bengal: 14 people surrender in TMC leader murder case, sent to jail


Midnapore: Fourteen persons on Tuesday surrendered before a West Midnapore district court which sent them to judicial custody till 25 October in a two-year-old murder case of a Trinamool Congress leader.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The 14 surrendered before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Prasun Ghosh and prayed for bail.

However, the CJM rejected their bail plea and remanded them to judicial custody till 25 October.

Trinamool Congress leader and Zilla Parishad member Kakali Bardolui was hacked to death on 22 October, 2014, in Keshpur. An FIR was lodged against 28 people.

While two of them had been arrested, others were at large. Fourteen of them came to the court and surrendered on Tuesday.

The two, who had been arrested earlier, were now out on bail.

Mamata 2.0 kickstarts from former Left stronghold, CM promises massive rural outreach

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee kickstarted her second innings from Narayangarh in West Midnapore on Monday.Banerjee chose to have her first district meeting after the state assembly elections at Narayangarh, which had been a Left bastion for 38 long years. The Leader of Opposition, in the erstwhile Bengal government, Suryakant Mishra had contested from the Left-Congress alliance in the assembly polls, but was defeated by Trinamool Congress’ candidate Pradyut Kumar Ghosh by 13,000 votes.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Inaugurating an array of projects for Narayangarh, she presented it as a return gift to the people who voted for the Trinamool Congress, throwing out Left’s sitting MLA.Blurring the thin line between a state government event and a party event, Banerjee said, “If you work, no conspiracy can hold you back. We are going to make Narayangarh a model. We will set up colleges, schools here. Our initiative of distributing free cycles, books and uniforms will continue,” said Banerjee, adding, “People of Narayangarh have kept their promise for voting for us. Now, we will keep our promise by delivering development here.”While saying that the state would stand by the people of Narayangarh, Banerjee took a dig at the Centre, highlighting how funds for once-Maoist infested Jangalmahal had been discontinued. “Funds from Centre for Jangal Mahal have been discontinued. But, the state will provide the same funds,” Banerjee said.She further requested the Central government to reconsider the decision of reducing the allocation of kerosene oil for the state.The Chief Minister is to conduct her first administrative review meeting on Tuesday at Jangalmahal. In her previous tenure, she conducted 105 review meetings and is likely to double the number in her second tenure.

West Bengal: BJP state president Dilip Ghosh threatens to break necks of TMC supporters with bare hands

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh stirred yet another controversy by threatening to break necks of TMC supporters with his bare hands. “Half the people here have been trained by the RSS and are capable of breaking necks with our bare hands,” said Ghosh while addressing a public meeting on Friday at the West Midnapore district of West Bengal. He further added, “We will cut off their electricity connection, water supply and lynch them (TMC) inside their home, we will see what they can do? If we start beating up them, no one will come to their rescue.” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ghosh also said, “We have won 3 seats and it’s enough to give you (TMC) a challenge.”This is not the first time Ghosh sparked a controversy by his remarks. Earlier, he had termed the female students of Jadavpur University as ‘shameless’. “Jadavpur University girls are shameless. They have filed baseless complaints of molestation. They lean on boys and then complain of molestation. If they are so scared of their self-respect, why do they have to go the university?” Ghosh had said then.

Major reshuffle in West Bengal ahead of Mamata Banerjee’s swearing-in

In a major reshuffle in West Bengal ahead of the swearing-in of Mamata Banerjee as Chief Minister for the second consecutive term, altogether 30 IAS and IPS officers in the state were transferred on Wednesday. Of the transferred 30 officials, 14 belonged to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and rest from the Indian Police Service (IPS).Some of these officials had been removed by the Election Commission (EC) during the recent Assembly election and now reinstated to their previous positions. Prior to today’s reshuffle, IPS officer Rajeev Kumar was reinstated as Kolkata Police Commissioner on May 21, two days after Banerjee returned to power with a huge mandate. He had been removed by the EC on April 12. Among the 14 IAS officials transferred today, Antara Acharya, who was District Magistrate of East Midnapore, has been made DM of North 24-Parganas district.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PB Salim was reinstated as DM South 24-Parganas district, while Rashmi Kamal has been asked to take over as DM, East Midnapore district. Smita Pandey, who had been working as District Election Officer, Kolkata South, during the Assembly election, has been sent to compulsory waiting. Four IPS officers Dhrubajyoti Dey, Rashid Munir Khan, Santosh Pandey and Sumanjit Ray have also been sent on compulsory waiting.Surendra Gupta, working as Additional CEO, has been asked to take over as MD in WBIDC. Dibyendu Sarkar, posted as additional CEO, will take over as Commissioner of Panchayat and Rural Development department. Among the IPS officials, the new SPs will be Kunal Aggarwal in Burdwan district, Prasun Bandyopadhyay in Malda district, Arnab Ghosh in South Dinajpur district, Mukesh in Birbhum district, Tanmoy Roy Chowdhury in North 24-Parganas district and Bharati Ghosh in West Midnapore district. Bhaskar Mukherjee, Bandana Varun Chandrasekhar and Gourav Sharma has been appointed as new Deputy Commissioners of Police under Kolkata Police.

West Bengal: Woman lynched on suspicion of being witch again

Hours after a court awarded death sentence to seven persons in connection with the lynching of three women in West Midnapore on suspicion of being witches, a woman was lynched at Debra area in the West Midnapore district on Monday night on the suspicion of witchcraft.A senior district police officer said Sambari Tudu, 45, was dragged from her house at Birsinghpur hamlet under Debra police station area by some locals late last night after a local village court held a sitting and blamed her for the death of some neighbours due to ailments. She was thrashed after being tied to a post and as she slumped to the ground the attackers left the spot, the officer said quoting some eyewitnesses.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a police force recovered the body on Tuesday tension escalated in the area. The police officer said eight persons have been arrested in connection with the incident so far and further raids were continuing.Seven persons, including a woman, were sentenced to death and six others to life imprisonment by a court in Ghatal on Monday for the 2012 lynching of three women of a single family on suspicion of their being witches at a village in the same district.

West Bengal elections 2016: FIR against 2 TMC candidates for interfering in poll process; 84.24% turnout recorded

Over 84 % of the electorate exercised their franchise till 5 PM in the sixth and last phase of Assembly election in West Bengal today. While East Midnapore district recorded 85.09 % polling, 82.71 % votes were cast in Cooch Behar. The overall average till 5 PM was 84.24 %.Two Trinamool Congress candidates in Cooch Behar district faced the poll panel’s ire for allegedly interfering with the electoral process and threatening polling personnel. FIRs were lodged against Rabindranath Ghosh, TMC candidate from Natabari and Udyan Guha from Dinhata following complaints from the respective returning officers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Dinhata, the presiding officer was also removed by the EC for not being able to stop Guha from entering the voting cubicle inside the booth. Over local issues, some people at two booths at Moyna constituency in East Midnapore district boycotted today’s poll, officials said.The police said that altogether they made 30 arrests during the day, out of which 29 were preventive arrests.Over 9000 new citizens of India vote for the first timeFor the first time since Independence, 9,776 residents of border enclaves in Cooch Behar were eligible to exercise their franchise, made possible by the formal inclusion of the enclaves in the Indian territory last year.Among them was 103-year-old Asgar Ali who came along with family members of three generations to cast ballots for the first time. State chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta said enthusiasm was noticed among the first-time voters over 80 % of whom turned out at the polling booths.PTIAn electorate of over 58 lakh was eligible to cast ballots at 6,774 polling stations till 6 PM in 25 constituencies. In all 170 candidates, including 18 women, are in the fray in this phase.Over 1500 complaints receivedDuring the day, the commission received over 1,500 complaints out of which around 40 were pending disposal.In East Midnapore’s Bhupatinagar, there were complaints of voters being obstructed while in Kolaghat a voter complained that he was attacked when he went to vote and even his gold ring was snatched away.Members of the Trinamool Congress lodged a complaint against Congress activists for assembling with arms near booth number 236 and jamming booth numbers 14, 107 and 249 of Moyna constituency in East Midnapore district.Security personnel arrested five persons on the charge of giving food to voters near booth no 231 at Gobra in Moyna constituency. The police said two groups belonging to TMC and Congress were allegedly distributing food among voters. Securitymen chased them and most of them fled but the five were caught.The CPI-M claimed that it could not put up polling agents in 52 booths in Nandigram, to which TMC MP Suvendu Adhikari replied, “We cannot be blamed for that”.”The TMC candidate of Natabari openly threatening the polling officer of dire consequences. Frustration for alienation at its height,” CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said in a tweet.TMC candidate and the party’s district president Rabindranath Ghosh alleged high-handedness by central forces at Deocharai. Reports from Haldia in East Midnapore district said quoting police that a house belonging to a CPI-M supporter was attacked at Shankarpur in Ramnagar.Two TMC leaders Alok Burman and Asok Burman were allegedly beaten up by CPI-M workers in Tamluk in East Midnapore district. Both have been hospitalised. In Natabari, a presiding officer was removed after he fell sick.

dna Morning Must Reads: West Bengal elections phase 6; TATA group doubles published patents; IPL 2016; and more

1. West Bengal Elections 2016 Phase 6: Tight security to ensure peaceful last phase of polling, 25 constituencies in fray25 seats are in fray. Thousands of security personnel have been stationed in East Midnapore and CoochBehar districts which are polling today. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Collegium recommends four names for Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court Collegium has recommended elevation of three High Court Chief Justices and a senior lawyer to the apex court, the first since a new law on appointment of judges to higher judiciary was struck down by the top court. Read more here3. Hillary Clinton calls Donald Trump a ‘loose cannon,’ risky choice for presidentUS Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton took quick aim at presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying the United States should not take a risk on an unreliable candidate. Read more here4. Tata Group’s published patents double to 7,000 in two yearsTata group on Wednesday said it has doubled its published patents in two years to about 7,000 at the end of 2015. Read more here5. Google hints at cyborg eye implant in the pipelineGoogle has filed a patent for a vision-correcting electronic device that would see the human eye’s natural lens replaced with an electronic lens implant. Read more here6. IPL 2016: Can Dhoni’s Pune Supergiants upset Delhi DaredevilsEver since Rahul Dravid has taken over the role of a mentor in the Delhi Daredevils, the fortunes have reversed for a team which was getting used of lying low on tables for last couple of years. Read more here

West Bengal elections 2016: TMC’s Suvendu Adhikari sends legal notice to CPI(M)’s Surya Kanta Mishra

Trinamool Congress candidate in Nandigram Suvendu Adhikari on Wednesday night said a legal notice has been sent to CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra for “making false allegations and sullying his and party’s reputation”.Mishra had on Tuesday complained to the Election Commission alleging that Adhikari had held a meeting on May 1 at a college at Panskura in East Midnapore district with officers-in charge of Moyna, Haldia, Marishda, Ramnagar and Panskura police stations to keep the central forces away from action during tomorrow’s polling in the district.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have sent a legal notice to Mishra against such utterly false allegations levelled at me to harm my and TMC’s reputation. No such meeting had taken place,” Adhikari told PTI tonight.The Election Commission had earlier in the day said that it has not found any substance in the complaint made by the CPI-M that Trinamool Congress candidate in Nandigram Suvendu Adhikari had held a meeting with some police officers recently in poll-bound East Midnapore district.”We had sought a report from the district authorities, who said the complaints could not be substantiated,” additional chief electoral officer Dibyendu Sarkar said.

West Bengal Elections 2016 Phase 6: TMC expected to dominate, Cong – Left hope for silent revolution

It’s the last phase of the month-long election process in West Bengal or as Mamata Banerjee says the end of festival of democracy in the state. With alliance projected to punch way above their weight, the sixth phase may turn out to be a decider like a true T-20 match. Both sides however believe they have already crossed the magic mark, yet the significance of these 25 seats can’t be more emphasised.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CoochBehar and East Midnapore are going to the polls and if past performance is evaluated, TMC should have its easy.But then again this is no ordinary election. Whether it brings about a change in guard or not, Mamata Banerjee’s rhetoric in East Midnapore last week amply shows that she is evidently concerned with the self goals of her party members, the negative perception in the media and also alertness of Election Commission. The alliance which was a fledgling at the beginning has also sensed the chinks in the armour and has upped its ante. Hence the entire equation of the polls need to be looked from that perspective. But let’s see how the parties fared in the past elections:In 2011 CoochBehar TMC Cong Left BJP4 4 1 0
East Midnapore TMC Cong Left BJP16 0 0 0 In 2011, Congress and TMC were in alliance. Out of 9 seats, these two parties won 4 each. The Left only won 1. In East Midnapore, it was a complete green revolution with TMC winning all the 16 seats. Hence TMC won 20 out of the 25 seats in 2011. Now cut to 2014. All the parties contested separately and TMC showed its might in CoochBehar being ahead in 8 out of the 9 assembly segments. In East Midnapore, it was another clean sweep for Mamata Banerjee’s outfit. So it was a dominating 24 out of 25 seats for TMC. In 2014 Cooch Behar TMC Cong Left BJP8 0 1 0 East Midnapore TMC Cong Left BJP16 0 0 0 In 2016, the Congress and the Left have decided to come together. So let’s see how the seats would have stacked up in 2014, adding the votes of Congress and the Left parties. Popular Bengali actor and TMC MP Dev campaigning (PTI)
If there was Cong- Left alliance: CoochBehar TMC Alliance BJP6 3 0The Alliance was ahead in Mekhliganj, CoochBehar North and Sitai. East Midnapore TMC Alliance BJP16 0 0 In CoochBehar, alliance would have won two more but the situation would have been the same in East Midnapore. So, TMC would have still won 22 out of the 25 seats. Surja Kanta Mishra campaigning for the Congress- Left alliance (PTI)How the parties stack up: TMC: CoochBehar is one of the few districts in North Bengal where TMC has a strong organisation. Five of the 9 seats are reserved for SC, and didi will hope that many of her strong outreach programme targeted at backward class will yield some benefit. But what can seriously affect TMC is the infighting in the party unit of CoochBehar. In East Midnapore, TMC strongman Subhendu Adhikari will look to ensure that party continues its golden run. The entire Nandigram movement which shot TMC back into national limelight after being sidelined into political obscurity following electoral setback in 2004 and 2006 started from East Midnapore. Hence, this is the original fortress of TMC where it still rules with an iron fist. The several rural programmes taken by the government is only expected to reap rich dividend in the largely rural base. Overall, the party will be optimistic of a near-perfect performance in East Midnapore though it has more than few hurdles in the way. Cong- Left alliance:
Rahul Gandhi in East Midnapore (PTI) The Left and Congress together is a lethal combination in North Bengal, and CoochBehar is no exception. The Congress has its own pocket of influence and it will definitely do better compared to 2014, where the overall anti incumbency against the Manmohan govt took a toll there. Among the Left Front, Forward bloc is a major player here. Congress and Forward Bloc has had bad blood in the past and whether the two parties and more importantly the voters would go beyond that to unite for a common cause is the most crucial factor there. United might of the Left and Congress can in fact win majority of seats in CoochBehar. In East Midnapore though, the situation is starkly different. The Congress is virtually a negligible force there with very little ground support. The Left is yet to revive from the massive erosion in their votebase. Yet there are some positive signs. The party has managed to enter villages and hold rallies where it was virtually ‘banished’ few years back. The alliance will hope that a latent support from people will offset their organisational weakness and it doesn’t face a complete washout in these 25 seats. BJP: Rajanth Singh campaigning in CoochBehar (PTI)BJP is not really a major player in East Midnapore, even though it attracted some traction post 2014 polls. It is a factor in CoochBehar, but mainly as a spoiler. Its vote share from 2014 is likely to go down, but where will those extra votes go is anyone’s guess. Interestingly, the party has fielded a Muslim candidate in Natabari constituency. How well Ali Hossain fares will also be an interesting sideshow of this phase.Overall, TMC is expected to dominate and win the majority of the seats. It will like to bag at least 20 of the 25 seats. The alliance will try to keep it down to around 15, though for that it will virtually need to sweep CoochBehar. They will hope for a silent revolution to offset all mathematical calculations. The EC which has been the man of the series of these polls will have to ensure that the process continues peacefully on Thursday too. It may just make the difference in the final calculation.

Around 20 percent turnout recorded in initial hours during second phase of polling in Bengal

Kolkata: Sporadic incidents of violence occurred as around 20 percent electorate cast their vote in the initial hours during polling in 31 Assembly seats in West Bengal on Monday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The turnout in seats spread over three districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Burdwan districts in the second part of the first phase was was 19.95 percent till 9 am, election officials said.

Voting began at 7 am with a large number of people turning up to avoid the scorching sun as day time temperatures are crossing 40 degree Celsius.

Five-time CPI-M MLA from Narayangarh and Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra was among the early voters.

Two bags containing bombs were found near booth number 35 in Jamuria by the police.

In the same constituency, a CPI(M) agent was injured after he was allegedly beaten up by Trinamool Congress workers and obstructed from entering a polling booth.

Around 70 lakh people are eligible to cast their votes today. The fate of 163 candidates, including 21 women, will be decided.

Repoll in two booths of Bankura and West Midnapore districts, where polling was held in the first part of the first phase poll on 4 April, is also being held today.

Five more phases of polling will be held in the state till 5 May.

Besides TMC and the Left-Congress alliance, the BJP, which has only one MLA in the outgoing Assembly, has also fielded candidates from all the seats in the hope of making it a triangular fight.

West Bengal: TMC worker beaten to death in West Midnapore

Trinamool Congress worker, Jaydeb Jana was allegedly beaten to death at Sabang in West Midnapore district of West Bengal late on Friday night.Jana was beaten with bamboo, rods and wooden sticks and succumbed to his injuries later.According to Trinamool Congress leader from Sabang, Nirmal Ghosh, the attack was spearheaded by Manas Bhuinya and Congress-Left alliance workers.”He was beaten to death when he returned from election campaign last night. Manas Bhuinya is behind this brutal attack. Congress and Left workers helped him to attack our party worker. They are attacking our party workers as they know that they are going to lose elections,” said Ghosh.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, Bhuinya ruled out the allegations, saying he was not involved in the attack. “I was campaigning at Pingla when the attack took place,” Bhuinya said.

West Bengal polls first phase turnout tops 80 %

Kolkata: Braving the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity, nearly 81 percent of the 40 lakh voters exercised their franchise in three Maoist-affected districts on Monday in the first phase of the West Bengal assembly polls covering 18 constituencies.

Choppers hovered above and there was heavy security presence as 13 of the constituencies that went to the hustings were in areas identified as affected by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE).

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

An Election Commission official said in Delhi that polling was “by and large peaceful”.

“There was no incident of violence, any injury or death to any person, which is a creditable achievement,” the official said.

Till 6.30 p.m., the overall polling percentage was 80.92.

While 81.66 percent voters cast their ballot in West Midnapore district, the figure was 80.59 percent in Bankura, and 80.18 in Purulia, state Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said in Kolkata.

The scheduled time of polling was reduced by two hours in six insurgency-hit constituencies of West Midnapore, four in Purulia and three in Bankura districts. The elections got over at 4 p.m. in these constituencies.

In five other constituencies of Purulia, polling ended at 6 p.m.

However, the polling figure may go up as people were in queue in many of the areas long past the closing time, said Gupta.

He said there were no arrests, or formal complaints about booth capturing.

“Polling was peaceful and fair. We did not receive any serious complaints from the candidates, voters or parties,” said the CEO.

Gupta’s office has recommended repoll in a booth in Ranibandh assembly constituency in Bankura district following discrepancy in recording the number of votes in an Electronic Voting Machine. The erring polling official was removed.

Gupta also said a presiding officer was removed after allegations that a polling agent was moving to the voter’s compartment in a polling station of Purulia district’s Balarampur constituency.

West-BengalWest-BengalFor the first phase of the elections, there were 40,09,171 registered voters eligible to record their democratic choices in 4,945 polling stations. Of these, 1,962 were classified as critical.

Gupta said there were no reports of poll boycott in any of the booths. Altogether 34 EVMs were replaced after they developed snags.

Prominent among the 133 candidates — 11 of them women — were Paschimanchal Development Affairs Minister Sukumar Hansda of the Trinamool Congress from Jhargram and the CPI-M’s Pulin Bihari Baske from Gopiballavpur.

The Congress and the Left Front accused Trinamool activists of attempting to influence and intimidate voters in many booths across the three districts, and also complained that the central forces were not active in many of the areas.

“Our expectations were not completely fulfilled. We don’t know yet the extent of terrorisation of voters in the interior areas,” said state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Md. Salim said polling was “more or less peaceful”, but not “entirely fair”.

“The polls were fairly peaceful but I will not say it was entirely fair. In places like Salboni (West Midnapore), Bankura and Purulia, the Trinamool, even though it failed to resort to malpractices in a big way, did try to disrupt the polls by orchestrating attacks, intimidating voters and the like,” he said.

Salim alleged that in some areas a few of the election Commission’s lower level officials worked in the interest of the ruling party.

Rubbishing the opposition’s claims, the Trinamool asserted that the large turnout was an indication of the masses’ trust in the Mamata Banerjee government.

“The massive turnout displays the people’s faith in the Mamata Banerjee government,” state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said.

The Trinamool, Left Front-Congress combine and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were in the fray for all the 18 constituencies.

Among the Left Front partners, the CPI-M put up candidates in 11 seats, and the Communist Party of India and the All India Forward Bloc in one seat each. The Congress was in the race in five constituencies.

Multi-layered security was put in place around the constituencies, with at least 10 personnel of a central paramilitary force deployed to secure each polling station in the LWE-affected constituencies.

Besides two helicopters carrying out sorties, an air ambulance and quick response teams were on standby.

Security beefed up for first phase of polling for Assam, West Bengal elections

Tight security arrangements have been made for the first phase of Assam and West Bengal Assembly polls which will be held on April 4.In Assam, nearly 94 lakh voters are expected to exercise their franchise in this phase. A total of 539 candidates, including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal, are in the fray.All arrangements are being made to conduct polls in a free and fair manner. In West Bengal, 18 Assembly seats spread across districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura will go to polls in this phase.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 5,000 polling stations have been set up for almost 38 lakh voters.Multiple layers of security, comprising both central and state police forces, are being made. Two-phased polling was announced for 126-member Assam Assembly, while for the West Bengal Assembly, which has 294 members, voting will be held in six phases.The election process for Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Assembly elections will begin on April 22.

West Bengal polls 2016: Campaigning for initial part of first phase ends

As dismay engulfs the state after the Vivekananda flyover collapse, campaigning for the initial part of the first phase of West Bengal Assembly polls ended on Saturday, two day before 18 constituencies of maoist-affected areas in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura will vote.133 candidates will try their luck in the first of the six phases of Assembly elections. There are total 4,945 polling stations out of which 1,962 have been classified as critical ones by the Election Commission. Voting will be held amidst tight security by both central and state police forces from 7 AM.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In some seats, polling will end at 4 PM due to security considerations while in others it will go on till 6 PM. To monitor the polling process, 14 general observers, 676 micro observers, 202 digital cameras, 642 video cameras, 210 CCTVs have been deployed.In all Left-wing extremism affected polling stations, the EC has decided to deploy one section of forces. Star campaigners in this phase include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra and Congress MP and spokesman Raj Babbar.In poll rallies and meetings, opposition parties have been harping upon major issues like the Saradha chit-fund scam, the recent Narada sting operation which reportedly showed TMC leaders accepting bribe.The Left parties and the Congress have entered into an alliance to fight the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called this alliance an “unholy” one while Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended an election rally in Kharagpur town, mocked at it saying “dosti (friendship) in Bengal and kushti (wrestling) in Kerala”.The ‘Ma Maati Manush’ government led by Banerjee has however, been campaigning on the all-round development work done in the state during their five-year rule. The tragic incident of a flyover collapse in Kolkata two days ago affected poll campaigning as many state leaders including the chief minister had to rush to the Kolkata.

If Trinamool detects real injustice, we will take responsibility: Mamata Banerjee hits back at Congress, BJP

Kolkata: With the West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress facing fire from the opposition parties over the Kolkata flyover collapse incident that killed 26 people, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday asserted that her government takes responsibility and acts in instances of “real injustice”.

File image. PTIFile image. PTI

File image. PTI

“Our government is the common man’s government. It will never do anything to burden the common man. Our government is not CPI-M or Congress. We have the capacity to label injustice as injustice, but if somebody lies and says ‘this is injustice’, then we do not accept that,” she said.

“If Trinamool Congress sees that there has been real injustice, then it takes responsibility and corrects it. But if someone lies and makes something seem wrong, then we do not believe in that action,” said Banerjee at a poll rally in West Midnapore ahead of the first phase of polls on Monday.

At least 26 people died while many others are still in hospital, some of them injured seriously, following the collapse of the under-construction Vivekananda Road flyover in north Kolkata’s market area Posta on Thursday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party sought a CBI probe, calling the incident an “act of fraud protected by the West Bengal government” while Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, during his visit to Bengal on Saturday, alleged that Trinamool leaders were involved in the construction of the collapsed flyover.

Banerjee hit out at Gandhi. “Some leaders from Delhi, who do not love Bengal, come down to the state during elections all of a sudden and go on talking in an unbridled fashion,” she said, adding, “Do not listen to them. They have always ignored Bengal.”

Firing salvos at the CPI-M and Congress over their tie-up, Banerjee said both the parties have no work except to spread lies and canards. “Congress has no capability on its own. It is going to all states and forging alliances and strengthening its base,” she said.

She also took potshots at a local media house for participating in the nexus and misleading people. “Their owner is the chairman of this alliance. Reporters are not to blame. Sometimes that person (the owner) goes to Delhi and falls at the feet of BJP, the Congress and sometimes CPI-M. That person wants to acquire land from farmers through guns,” said Banerjee.

Watch: PM Modi stops election speech for muezzin’s call

Reaching out to Muslims in poll-bound West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paused for several minutes in the middle of his speech at a poll rally here as a muezzin called for prayers at a nearby mosque.Modi, who had launched into a tirade against the ruling Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M)-Congress alliance, was in full flow when he abruptly stopped his speech as the muezzin made the call for prayer.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rally was being held at BNR maidan here, which is located behind the Golbari Masjid.”This is our parampara (heritage). We should pay respect to all religions and respect their rituals and customs. “We should be respectful so that the unity of India is maintained,” Modi said after the muezzin’s call for evening prayers had ended.The prime minister then spoke for about 20 minutes more at the rally, which saw a huge turnout. Four worshippers, who identified themselves as Aftab and Sheikh Firdaus from Kharagpur town and Imtiaz Ali and Amir Khan from Midnapore town were all praise for Modi for “respecting” all religions.

West Bengal: Hundreds of children fall sick across different schools after consuming deworming tablets

Hundreds of children fell sick on Wednesday after consuming deworming tablets across two districts of West Bengal— East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas. The West Bengal government carried out the deworming process at schools across several districts. Of them, students of three schools at Pashkura, four at Moyna and one at Kolaghat in East Midnapore district, fell sick after consuming the deworming tablets. All these children have been admitted to the Tamluk hospital and are undergoing treatment.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“There are reports of children complaining of discomfort after consuming those tablets. But, it is not very serious, they are being attended to and undergoing treatment,” said Alok Rajoria, Superintendent of Police, East Midnapore district, West Bengal.Students of one school in South 24 Parganas district, Basanti High School, also complained of sickness after consuming the same medicine. They have been admitted to the Basanti Block Hospital and are undergoing treatment.Sources in the health department of the state reveal that the students were asked to consume the medicine on empty stomach hence complained of discomfort.When dna tried to get in touch with the Superintendent of Police, South 24 Parganas, Sunil Choudhury, he asked us to speak to the District Magistrate, PB Salim, who refused to speak on the matter and asked this correspondent to speak to the SDPO.

West Bengal Elections: ‘Understanding’ with Congress reached, says Left after releasing first list of candidates

Left Front chairman Biman Bose on Monday said they have reached an “understanding” with Congress to fight jointly against ruling Trinamool Congress in the West Bengal Assembly elections beginning next month and released the first list of candidates.Announcing the names of 116 candidates out of a total 294 seats, Bose said “we have welcomed an understanding with Congress to remove Trinamool from the state. Front, alliance and understanding are not the same thing.” He said Left Front will not campaign together with Congress. “Platform will, however, not be shared with the Congress for campaigning,” he said. Asked whether they would go for an alliance or seat adjustment with the Congress, Bose refused to give a direct reply, saying things will be evident later.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No CM candidate for Left”If there is any violence in the campaign stage, there will be flagless movement by all like-minded parties fighting against the Trinamool Congress,” he said. On the front’s chief ministerial candidate, Bose said at present they have no CM candidate.
ALSO READ West Bengal: TMC calls Congress a watermelon for ‘shameless alliance’ with CPIMAmong the prominent names in the candidate list released today are CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra who will contest from his Narayangarh seat in West Midnapore district. CPI(M) state secretary usually does not contest elections, but an exception has been made for Mishra.CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb will be fielded from Singur, while Siliguri Mayor Asok Bhattacharya will contest from Siliguri wherefrom he lost in the 2011 Assembly polls. Former minister Kanti Ganguly, who had lost from Raidighi in 2011, will fight from the same seat while athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar has been fielded from Sonarpur Uttar seat.
ALSO READ West Bengal Elections: CPI(M) announces first list of candidatesThere are 68 new faces in LF’s first list with 16 women candidates.

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