Bhawanipore bypoll was largely peaceful barring some scattered incidents with TMC supremo contesting to continue as chief minister from her bastion as Election Commission recorded 53.32 per cent turnout till 5 pm.
Though BJP candidate Priyanka Tibrewal made several complaints to EC against Trinamul workers jamming booths and against Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee for allegedly using social media to influence voters during the day of polling.
However, EC has dismissed these complaints as baseless and has sent a showcase notice to Tibrewal for entering the booth with her security personnel and traversing the area in a convoy of 20 vehicles following a complaint by TMC alleging violation of Model Code of Conduct by her.
Tibrewal in her complaints against Hakim and Mukherjee alluded to the alleged tweets in which the leaders urged voters to vote in favour of Miss Banerjee for her thumping victory.
Later, Mukherjee, state panchayat minister and incharge of Ward No. 63 told news persons: “I’m in politics for last 50 years. I’m aware that I cannot campaign on polling day. I don’t know how to tweet. At best, I can only use WhatsApp. I’ve lodged FIR with Shakespeare Sarani police station and Lalbazar Cyber Cell. They will find out who are behind this.”
Some voters in Chetla complained that they had been receiving messages from BJP even when they were standing in queues outside polling booths. Both Miss Banerjee and party’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee
voted in Mitra Institution.
Two of her Cabinet ministers, Hakim and Shovandeb Chattopadhyay are also voters of this constituency. Tibrewal alleged that Hakim entered the booths to influence voters. He said, “I know the rules. I didn’t enter the booths but only met the polling agents to know about the percentage of poling.”
Tibrewal claimed to have identified a false voter at Khalsa School. A minor scuffle between supporters of the TMC and BJP was reported outside a booth in Bhawanipore over claims of the ruling party bringing fake voters inside the polling centre. Security forces present at the booth brought the situation under control.
BJP vice-president Dilip Ghosh alleged that TMC was resorting to malpractices to get their party supremo elected and therefore, he concluded, it resulted in sluggish turnout during the early hours of voting. “Why this was happening at Bhawanipore? The goons of the Trinamul Congress were intimidating voters not to go to booths,” he said.
Earlier, Hakin visited the CPI-M camp office as a gesture of courtesy and had tea with the CPI-M party workers.