Lalgarh poll boycott a slap on Buddha's face

ALL IN VAIN: Poll officials wait for voters to turn up at a polling booth in Lalgarh.Lalgarh (West Bengal): In a major worry for West Bengal's Left Front government in West Bengal, the voter turnout was a pathetic 0.45 per cent in the tribal belt of Lalgarh in Jhargram constituency due to a near total boycott by the residents of the area.
At the polling booths in the tribal-dominated Lalgarh area of West Midnapur out of 11,000 voters only 50 turned up.
The localities boycotted the election protesting against alleged police torture and atrocities.
The tribals had blocked the entry of security personnel into Lalgarh, forcing the administration to set up four polling booths on the border of Lalgarh..
"We are boycotting this election as there is no progress here. There are no schools or hospitals here," said a voter Vimal Mistry.
The boycott is perhaps the first in West Bengal. The administration even deployed buses to take voters to the polling booth. But these buses had to wait for the unwilling voters until the evening.
But the tribal leadership felt it was a conspiracy by the administration.
"I asked the DM (District Magistrate) to arrange for vehicles. The people were waiting but there was no transport. This is a conspiracy by the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist)," Advasi Parishat member Lalmohan Tutu said.
The near total poll boycott by the tribals of Lalgarg is a slap on the face of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government which seems to have backed out fearing a repeat of Nandigram in Lalgarh.