The counting of votes for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) election has begun with the opposition BJP alleging rigging and demanding a re-poll in all 144 wards.
The KMC election witnessed sporadic incidents of violence on Sunday with a crude bomb hurled outside polling stations in the central part of Kolkata. State Election Commissioner Sourav Das said there were 195 arrests and 453 complaints, which are being addressed by the election body.
Leader of Opposition and Nandigram MLA Suvendu Adhikary has alleged only 20% have voted in the KMC election.
Keeping in view the sensitivity around the election, all procedures will be under CCTV surveillance, the Election Commission has said.
Arrangements such as ward-wise tables have been installed, Assistant Municipal Returning Officers (AMRO) have been deputed in 10 counting halls and all procedures will be recorded.
Section 144 has been imposed within 200 metres of the counting hall. Three-tier security arrangement has been made with quick response teams, flying squads and drones deployed to oversee the process. All counting agents have been asked to not carry their mobile phone in the hall. Around 1,000 state policemen and officers have been deployed in Kolkata.
Amidst growing cases of Covid-19, masks and sanitisers, rapid antigen testing (RAT) will be made available at the counting centres.
The TMC is confident that it would get more than 132 seats this year. The BJP, however, was ahead of TMC in 50 wards in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as compared to 12 seats in this year’s assembly polls.
TMC supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to visit Assam today where she will offer puja in Kamakhya temple.
TMC had stormed back to power in West Bengal for the third consecutive term and swept all the 16 assembly segments in the city in the April-May assembly poll. It has been in power in the city civic body since 2010 and is expected to dominate the KMC election this time too, riding the momentum of its massive victory in the state poll and the recent UNESCO ‘Intangible Heritage’ tag for Kolkata’s Durga Puja.
In the last Kolkata Municipal Corporation election in 2015, the TMC had won 124 seats while the BJP, Congress and Left could manage to gain five, two and 13 seats. In the assembly polls, BJP’s vote share in the KMC area was 29%, while in the state it was 38%.