Bengal: Khardah logs least turnout but senior citizens lead the way

Peaceful voting was recorded with 63.90 per cent turnout till 5 pm on Saturday. Many turned up to vote, held by younger family members.

KHARDAH RECORDED peaceful voting with 63.90 per cent turnout till 5 pm on Saturday. Enthusiasm was high among senior citizens as they turned up to cast their votes for bypoll. Senior citizens were seen in large numbers outside polling booths in this xonstituency. Although it recorded the lowest turnout when compared to other constituencies on Saturday, the enthusiasm of the senior citizens was clearly visible. Many turned up to vote, held by younger family members. In Uttar Bandipur prathamik Vidyalaya, 86-year-old Madhabilata Biswas walked for about 10 minutes to reach her polling booth to cast her despite the scorching sun.

“There is a major problem of drinking water in this area. Even now, the problem remains as it is. We hardly get water. I continue to vote, thinking that one day someone will come who will solve this basic problem,” she said.

Supported by a neighbour, Smritikana Sardar, 78, had a big smile as she showed her inked finger.  “I decided to come here in the morning so that it is easier. They have taken [Covid-related] precautions here at the booth and I was able to cast my vote easily,” she said. At several booths, senior citizens with difficulty in walking or standing were allowed to cast their votes before the others in the queue.

Bela Patro, 87, cast her vote at Patulia Gram Panchayat voting centre in Khardah Assembly Constituency. She said, “I don’t know who will emerge the winner, but many parties are making promises and failing to follow them. But I have been voting for the past several decades…so I’ll continue to vote till I am alive.”

With masks and sanitiser, senior citizens were seen coming to polling booths. Some of  them told The Sunday Express that despite the Covid-19 pandemic situation, they have a “constitutional duty” to cast their vote in the election.

Khardah went to polls today because TMC’s Kajal Sinha, who won it, died of Covid-19 before the results were declared on May 2. TMC has an edge on this seat which was won by state finance minister Amit Mitra twice in 2011 and 2016 by 21192 and 26154  votes respectively.

Khardah went to polls in sixth phase on April 22. Late Kajal Sinha, the chief administrator of Khardah municipality and two-time councillor got 89,413 votes. He defeated his nearest rival and former party colleague Shilbhadra Dutta of BJP by nearly 28,041 votes.

“Vote happened peacefully. People arenno dacoits that they will fear paramilitary force . Hence, over alertness won’t have any effect on the poll result,” said Agricultural Minister and TMC Candidate of Khardah Shovan Deb Chattopadhyay.

However, Joy Saha BJP candidate who kept moving from one polling booth to another alleged that there agent were not allowed at many booths and accused TMC of rigging too.

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