83 percent voter turnout at Bengal by-polls

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 23, 2013 15:20 hrs

Kolkata, Feb 23 (IANS) A high average voter turnout of about 83 percent was witnessed in the by-elections in three assembly constituencies in West Bengal Saturday, poll officials said.

The by-polls at Nalhati in Birbhum district, Rejinagar in Murshidabad district and English Bazar in Malda district were "absolutely peaceful', the state Election Commission said.

"At Nalhati, voter turnout was 86 percent, while about 85 percent votes were cast at Reginajar. And at English Bazar, the turnout was 82 percent," an Election Commission official told IANS.

The by-elections were necessitated after sitting Congress legislators from Rejinagar and English Bazar left the party and joined the Trinamool Congress.

The assembly seat at Nalhati fell vacant after Congress legislator Abhijit Mukherjee won the election at Jangipur parliamentary seat, vacated by his father Pranab Mukherjee, who was elected president of India.

The Left Front, ruling Trinamool Congress and Congress fielded their candidates in all the seats.

Nalhati seat, with 176,536 eligible to vote, had eight contestants in the fray. There are 10 contestants at Rejinagar, which has 189,100 voters. The English Bazar seat has six contestants, and a 208,204-strong electorate.

The elections could prove a litmus test for both Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and the Congress. The alliance of the two parties ended last September.

The vote count will be held Feb 28.

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