Kolkata: Oppn demands poll be declared null and void

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Amid reports of poll booth capture and vote rigging, the BJP and CPI(M) on Sunday demanded the Kolkata Municipal Corporation be declared null and void.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Suvendu Adhikari led a five-member delegation of party MLAs to the Raj Bhawan and informed Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar of the way in which the KMC election was conducted.

Speaking to reporters after the visit, Adhikari said, “We demand re-election in the entire Kolkata Municipal Corporation. Today, democracy was destroyed by city police officers and TMC workers. Kolkata Police has turned into TMC cadre. There were no armed police personnel. They stopped 50 per cent of our polling agents. There were 20 per cent genuine voters and the rest were fake voting because of booth capture. Today’s election should be declared null and void.”

Later the BJP delegation met State Election Commissioner Saurav Das at his office.

“We have no hope from this spineless state election commissioner. The State Election Commission has now become defunct. We asked the state election commissioner to declare today’s election null and void. They should check CCTV footage and order a forensic test of such footage by a central agency. We know that none of this will be done. There is hearing at the Calcutta High Court on December 23 on this election. We will move the court with our fresh demand accompanied by evidence,” said Adhikari.

Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said they would organise sit-in demonstrations across the state on Monday and Tuesday. The CPI (M) withdrew its polling agents from four wards after they were driven by out by the “TMC”.

With its demand for a fresh KMC election, the CPI (M) will submit a deputation to the State Election Commission on Monday.

CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “Looting of votes is going on and it is unfortunate to see law-keepers acting like violators. Today, we all witnessed the mockery of democracy.”

Senior Congress leader and Chairman of the Election Committee Nepal Mahata demanded re-poll in ward 36 at Narkeldanga area.

Meanwhile, a pandemonium ensued outside Adhikari’s residence in Salt Lake with police not allowing anyone to leave the house before 5 pm.

The BJP had called its Parliamentary Party meeting there. However, police reportedly kept eight BJP MLAs, scheduled to attend the meeting, locked at the MLA hostel in Alipore until 5 pm. According to police sources, they were not allowed to leave as none of them were from Kolkata.

A scuffle between BJP leaders and policemen broke out outside Adhikari’s residence when they tried to leave after 5 pm. Later, police escorted the BJP MLAs to the Raj Bhawan.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar sought a “thorough probe” into the confinement of the BJP MLAs. He tweeted:”BJP delegation led by LOP @SuvenduWB has urged the Governor to take steps to declare polls #KMC null and void in view of rampant violence, rigging and @KolkataPolice acting for ruling party. A thorough probe was sought in the locking of opposition MLAs in the hostel.”

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