Nandigram: Hours after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged chaos at a polling booth in Nandigram on Thursday (April 1), the Election Commission came out with a statement saying there were no disruptions at the said booth.
Citing the report of its general observer, the Commission said that voting was not disrupted at any moment at polling station number 7 in Nandigram.
“Many sections of media have been covering the incident of alleged gherao of Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal and crowding at Polling Station No. 7 at 210 Nandigram AC (assembly constituency) today that inter alia resulted in disruption of poll process,” the Commission said in a statement.
“Polling at PS no 7 (Boyal Moktab Primary School) is going on smoothly. Hon’ble CM, who is also a contesting candidate, has left the place at about 3.35 pm after staying here for nearly one and half hour. It may kindly be noted that polling was not disrupted at any moment. Till now, 702 votes, out of 943, have been polled. It is 74 per cent,” it added quoting the report submitted by the poll observer.
The Commission said that after Banerjee’s complaint, general observer Hemen Das, an IAS officer, and police observer Ashutosh Roy (IPS) were asked to go to the spot immediately.
The panel said the general observer’s report was received at 4.06 pm.
The observer said nearly 3,000 people were there when he and the police observer reached the polling station.
“All have left now,” the report said.
The EC statement also said a separate handwritten complaint was received from the chief minister via the chief electoral officer (CEO) of West Bengal late in the afternoon.
The same has been forwarded to Special General Observer Ajay Nayak and Special Police Observer Vivek Dube under intimation to CEO. They have been asked to send a report by 6 pm on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Banerjee called Governor Jagdeep Dhankar to complain about the “total breakdown of law and order at the polling booth“. She alleged that non-Bangla speaking “outsiders” were creating ruckus in the area.
“I have lodged 63 poll-related complaints since morning, but no action has been taken by the Election Commission,” she said.
Moments after Banerjee’s call, the Governor responded through Twitter. He assured that the rule of law will be upheld.
“Issues flagged Mamata Banerjee a while ago on phone have been imparted to the concerned. There is full assurance of the concerned to adherence to rule of law. Am confident all will act in right spirit and earnestness so that democracy flourishes,” the Governor said in a tweet.
Banerjee, who has been camping in Nandigram for the last few days, had left her residence around 1 pm and reached a polling booth.