Kolkata soaks in poll carnival
Putting the blazing sun to shame, Kolkata Monday found itself immersed in the poll carnival as senior citizens helped by the younger lot turned out in strength alongside a large number of enthusiastic first-time voters.
As adults queued outside booths to exercise their democratic rights, children made full use of deserted roads and played cricket and football.
The reports of sporadic violence failed to deter the poll frenzy. While most turned up to vote to articulate their choice in deciding the country's next government, a few others had the incentive of getting a plate of delectable biryani.
In several areas of the city, including Tangra, Bhowanipore and Tiljala, there were allegations of the ruling Trinamool Congress activists distributing biryani to voters. The Trinamool rubbished the charge.
The alleged distribution of the delicious dish led to an altercation between activists of the Trinamool and the CPI-M, resulting in injuries to three people in Tiljala.
Confirming the incident, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East Division) D. Das said three people were hurt in the clash and a man was arrested in this connection.
The officer rejected claims of bullets being fired during the conflict.
Meanwhile, unidentified people allegedly threw two crude bombs at former deputy city mayor Mina Devi Purohit's car near Burrabazar.
The bombs, however, missed their mark and none was injured, police said.
Some people heckled CPI-M Kolkata South candidate Nandini Mukherjee when she was touring her constituency.
Different polling stations in the city presented varied pictures.
The all-women polling booth at the satellite township of Salt Lake came as a pleasant surprise to Sumita Ghosh, who is in her early 50s.
"It is interesting to see more and more women participating in the poll management process. This will enthuse many shy women to cast their votes," said the self-employed Ghosh, who cast her vote in the booth where all three presiding officers as also the police officer guarding the entrance were women.
On the other hand, a diehard BJP supporter found himself in a "to be or not to be" situation at the Binani Guesthouse polling station in Malapara under Kolkata North constituency.
Somnath Banerjee, a self-confessed die-hard BJP supporter, could not get over his predicament whether to vote for his party or not as he has strong reservation about party's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi seeking vote for himself rather than his party.
After several minutes of pondering, Banerjee went inside the booth but came out a little later only to call up his friends to help him decide if he should vote for the BJP, or exercise the NOTA.
"I want to vote for the BJP, for the party, but Modi says vote for him. He says 'abki baar Modi Sarkar' and not 'Bhajpa sarkar'.
"I am in a quandary. If I don't vote or cast in favour of some other party or even opt for the NOTA, it will be betrayal. At the same time, I don't want to vote for Modi who has belittled his own party and its top leaders," said Banerjee.
(Posted on 12-05-2014)