Voters boycott elections in part of Indian West Bengal legislative poll

08:30, May 11, 2011      

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Claiming that they faced infrastructural problems in accessing the polling stations, hundreds of people belonging to Belgaria district in West Bengal, eastern India, Tuesday boycotted polling for the sixth and final phase of the state Legislative Assembly elections.

According to sources in the state Election Commission, not a single vote was cast since polling began in the morning in the polling booth set up for people of Belgaria.

The six phased election for the 294-seat Legislative Assembly began April 18.

"The polling station for the polling today is located four km away from our area. It is very difficult to go there unless a vehicle is provided," a local villager told Xinhua.

"The polling stations have to be closer to the location of people, it cannot be four km away. It does not happen anywhere. We are unable to cast votes because of the huge distance. For this reason we have decided to boycott the poll," another villager stated angrily.

Saugata Maity, Block Development Officer (BDO) of Belgaria, told Xinhua that he had knowledge of several people boycotting polling in the last and final phase of West Bengal Legislative Assembly elections.

"We care for the sentiments of the people and it is a fact that there is a lot of distance between where they are and where the polling station is. But due to logistic problems, we are not able to provide any vehicle to them," he lamented.

Meanwhile, polling was held for three Naxal-hit constituencies of Bankura district along with 11 other seats in Purulia and West Midnapore districts in the final phase of Legislative Assembly elections in West Bengal.

During this phase, 2.657 million voters were due to elect their representatives from 97 candidates. While West Midnapore district has the highest number of seven seats, Purulia has four and Bankura three.

Prominent candidates in this phase include Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Susanta Ghosh, a minister in incumbent chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's government and the party's nominee and Law Minister in the outgoing cabinet Rabilal Moitra.

Source: Xinhua
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