EC seeks repoort from dist authorities on violation of 144 CrPC in Nandigram

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Kolkata, Apr 1 (PTI) The Election Commission has sought report from Purba Medinipur district administration in connection with the alleged violation of prohibitory orders outside a polling booth in Nandigram's Bayal village during a visit by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is a contestant from the prestigious seat, when voting was on on Thursday, a senior EC official said.

Chief Electoral Officer Ariz Aftab said that polling for the second phase was more or less peaceful, except for a few sporadic incidents.

The EC had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in entire Nandigram assembly constituency and people who are not voters of the seat were barred from entering it in view of the sensitivity of the area.

We have sought a report on what exactly happened there. We will subsequently take action as required,' the CEO told reporters here.

He said Banerjee had gone to polling booth number 7 at Bayal village at around 1.30 pm and had to wait there for almost two hours as two groups shouted slogans against each other. Following this a large number of CAPF personnel and senior officers reached the spot to bring the situation under control and bring the chief minister, who was in a wheelchair, out.

' No untoward incident took place there,' Aftab said.

The TMC supremo had on Thursday accused the central forces deployed in her Nandigram constituency of helping the BJP under instructions of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

She had also alleged that the Election Commission was following the instructions of Shah and not acting on complaints of alleged irregularities lodged by her party.

Banerjee said that she had telephoned Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and an EC special observer from a polling booth at Bayal but did not divulge anything about the conversation she had with them.

Dhankhar confirmed that he had received a call from the chief minister and officials concerned have been intimated about the 'issues' flagged by her.

He also said that necessary steps would be taken to ensure that the rule of law was strictly adhered to.

The CEO said that 28 people were arrested in connection with two incidents. Eight persons were arrested for their alleged involvement in beating a 37-year-old man who succumbed to his injuries on way to the hospital, while 20 persons, including 14 women, were arrested for vandalising vehicles of Tanmay Ghosh, the BJP candidate for Keshpur seat and those of media persons on Thursday noon at Gunara village.

He said that six persons, including the candidate received minor injuries as four vehicles were vandalised.

The CEO said investigation has been initiated to find out the cause of the death of a person whose body was found hanging in Nandigram though circumstantial evidences hinted at suicide.

He said for the subsequent phases of elections advance teams will be sent to the places going to the poll.

The EC, he said, has decided to keep forces at constituencies where voting is over to monitor the post poll situation and to ensure peace in those places.

Asked to comment on complaints by officials that they had faced problems in webcasting in certain polling booths, he said there was none and monitoring was done in very polling booth.

'Strong action was taken in case of any aberration found in case of webcasting in today's polling, the CEO said.

He said a total 29,679 postal ballots were cast in the second phase by those aged above 80 or with disabilities and COVID-19 patients.

Polling was held in 30 constituencies spread across South 24 Parganas, Bankura, Paschim and Purba Medinipur districts in the second phase during the day. PTI SCH KK KK KK