Friday, May 01, 2009

Maoists barred many from voting: Biman

1 May 2009, 0509 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: Left Front chairman Biman Bose congratulated voters for braving an atmosphere of terror and exercising their franchise in the 14 Lok Sabha
constituencies that went to the polls on Thursday.

Talking to the media, Bose conceded that Maoists had been able to persuade voters to boycott polls in some booths. "Braving an atmosphere of terror and provocation, people in general have queued up at polling booths in the first phase of elections. We thank them for maintaining the true tradition of our state," he said.

But the Left Front chairman sounded upset with polling in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong under the Darjeeling constituency. "Polling in these areas could not be free and fair. We will collect information from the district and then think whether we should demand repoll in some booths," Bose said.

Bose wondered how a high turnout of voters was recorded in the hills despite heavy rains. "We will have to examine certain things so far as voting in the Hills is concerned," he said. Bose came down heavily on the Opposition for making all efforts to terrorise the CPM candidates and supporters in some areas. For example, in Malda North constituency, the election agent of the CPM candidate Sailen Sarkar, Ambar Mitra was beaten up by goons on Wednesday night when he was returning home. " In Malda South efforts were on to create disturbances as well. But, major incidents could be averted," Bose said.

Bose expressed his unhappiness at the manner a section of voters was stopped by Maoists from casting their vote in some areas of West Midnapore and Purulia. Referring to Lalgarh and Bandwan, Bose said that low turn out in some booths proved that the boycott call issued by Maoists could influence a section of voters.

However, Bose refused to comment whether this trend was pointing to the fact that the Maoists were gradually gaining strength in some districts in the state.

The Left Front chairman lamented the fact that the Trinamool Congress candidate from Ghatal had slapped the presiding officer when he was barred from entering the booth. Bose lambasted the Trinamool-Congress alliance, saying that Trinamool kept oscillating between Congress and BJP.

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