West Bengal: Voting continues for Sabang bypoll amid tight security

Image used for representational purpose

"Till 5 p.m., the end of scheduled time, the polling percentage was 84", an Election Commission official told IANS over phone.

The highly-polarised Sabang Vidhan Sibha by-election, whose results could be an indicator of whether BJP has started making inroads into West Bengal, recorded 50 per cent votes till 1 pm at 306 polling booths in West Bengal on Thursday.

The byelection is being held amid tight security with eight companies of central forces deployed in the constituency, the EC official said.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh alleged that TMC resorted to terror politics during the bypolls and said the ruling party would have bitten dust if the elections were free and fair.

He was echoed by the Congress and the CPI (M).

"The allegation made by the opposition parties is completely baseless".

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The by-election was necessitated after former West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) president Manas Bhunia, who crossed the floor over to Trinamool Congress in September previous year, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

In the 2016 Assembly polls, Mr. Bhunia, who had contested as a candidate of the Left Front-Congress alliance, had emerged victorious with 59.70% votes. "This is likely to benefit TMC", a senior State Congress leader said.

The Congress in its campaign had shown a video where Manas is seen attacking the TMC regime and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee before the last year's Assembly election for alleged misrule. Mr. Bhunia has been a six-time Congress MLA from the seat before he joined the TMC in September.

The other leading contestants are Antara Bhattacharya of the BJP, Chiranjib Bhowmick of the Congress and Rita Mandal of the CPI (M).

Counting of votes for the by-election will be held on December 24.

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