Highest turnout in West Bengal

Highest turnout  in West Bengal

Nearly 79 per cent votes were cast on Thursday in the first of the five-phase Lok Sabha elections in Coochbehar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar in north Bengal.

Cooch Behar, however, witnessed sporadic incidents of clashes and complaints about the ruling Trinamool Congress spreading terror.

All eyes are on the high profile contest between Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) backed BJP’s S S Ahluwalia and ace footballer Bhaichung Bhutia of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) for the Darjeeling seat. Forward Bloc candidate Dipak Kumar Roy complained of booth capturing, intimidation of voters by the Trinamool Congress workers and lack of any central paramilitary forces in at least three Assembly constituencies of Cooch Behar. He also sat for an impromptu demonstration in front of the district magistrate’s office.

Asok Bhattacharya, the CPM strongman from North Bengal, said the Trinamool fears a loss in Cooch Behar and hence wanted to create trouble so that people would stay away from voting. North Bengal Affairs Minister Gautam Deb, however, refuted all allegations and claimed that his party will have an unprecedented win in all the four seats of North Bengal.

He in turn complained against the GJM of spreading fear among TMC workers and voters.

“The GJM understands that its influence in the hills is not that strong any more, so it has resorted to such measures,” Deb said.

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