Kolkata: By-election in two Assembly constituencies of West Bengal, Bhowanipore in Kolkata and Basirhat (North) in North 24 Parganas was concluded on Sunday with chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Assembly constituency, Bhowanipore, polling only 49.32% of votes and Basirhat (north) witnessing over 80% turn out.
Chief electoral officer, Sunil Gupta, however said the poll percentage in Bhowanipore is likely to rise. Incidentally, in 2011 Assembly election, Bhowanipore, which falls in Banerjee’s south Kolkata parliamentary constituency, saw 63.71% turnout.
Banerjee, contesting her first Assembly poll, said that by-elections are generally not known for high polling percentage. “It would have been better if more people had turned up,” she said after casting her vote. “There is one percentage of people who do not vote, there’s one percentage, who work outside, and since exam is going on, some couldn’t vote,” the chief minister said justifying the poor percentage.
Since her party, Trinamool Congress, is expecting the margin of victory to increase from 50,000, the party was asked to mobilize at least 60% polling.
Bhowanipore constituency has over 2.12 lakh voters and six candidates were in fray, including CPI (M)’s Nandini Mukherjee. The seat was vacated by Banerjee’s close aide Subrata Bakshi, for the former to be elected to the legislative Assembly.
Basirhat (north) seat fell vacant after CPI (M)’s MLA Mustfa Bin Kasem committed suicide. Basirhat with 1.93 lakh voters had been declared a sensitive constituency and 11 companies of paramilitary forces were deployed in addition to state police. CPI (M)’s Subid Ali Gazi is contesting against Trinamool Congress’s ATM Abdullah.