Kolkata: Over 66 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the Howrah Lok Sabha by-poll in West Bengal on Sunday. The polling was peaceful. Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta told reporters that till 6 pm, when the voting closed, 66.20 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise.
However, Gupta said as there were people still in the queue in some booths, the final percentage might increase by one or two per cent. "The election was peaceful. There were no incidents of booth capturing or jamming," the CEO said when asked about allegations made by some political parties of malpractices during the polling.
He said that there were some reports of EVM malfunctioning in some booths which were replaced by new machines. Gupta said the polling percentage was less than recorded in the 2009 general elections and the 2011 Assembly polls.
The by-poll was held to fill the vacancy left by the death of sitting Trinamool Congress MP Ambika Banerjee.
In the 2009 general elections, the voter turnout was 74.47 per cent and in the 2011 state Assembly elections the voter turnout in seven Assembly segments under this constituency was 77.74 per cent. He said, "It is a general trend in the state for the last 20 years in which we have seen lesser voter turnout during by-polls."
The by-poll was held to fill the vacancy left by the death of sitting Trinamool Congress MP Ambika Banerjee. The TMC fielded former India football captain Prasun Banerjee against Congress candidate lawyer Sanatan Mukherjee and CPI(M)'s Sridip RPT Sridip Bhattacherjee, a former party Howrah district secretary. The BJP did not field any candidate. A total of 13 candidates were in the fray.