The Election Commission has deployed 10 companies of Central forces, besides a large contingent of state armed forces, to ensure free, fair and peaceful by-election tomorrow at the Maheshtala Assembly constituency, a top official said today. Maheshtala falls under South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, where 2,48,855 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise tomorrow.
“Altogether, 10 companies of Central forces have been deployed, besides a large contingent of state armed forces, to ensure the election is free, fair and peaceful,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in West Bengal Aariz Aftab told PTI. He said 1,415 polling personnel have already reached their respective polling booths and have begun route march and area domination in different sensitive and hypersensitive pockets. Polling will be held in 283 booths under 211 polling premises.
The All India Trinamool Congress, the BJP and the CPI(M) are contesting the bypolls. The Congress is not in the fray. Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) will be used in all polling booths, the CEO said, adding the VVPATs would provide feedback to voters. The bypoll will begin at 7 am and continue till 6 pm, the CEO said, adding videography of the polling process and webcasting have also been arranged. Counting of votes will be held on May 31 from 8 am, he said.
The AITMC has fielded Dulal Das, the husband of late party MLA Kasturi Das whose death has necessitated the by-poll, while the BJP, which is trying to emerge as the main challenger to the AITMC, has nominated Sujit Ghsosh, a former joint director of the CBI. The Left Front, on the other hand, has given ticket to Prabhat Chowdhury, a local.