Kolkata, May 3 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) Polling ended peacefully for the fourth leg of the staggered six-phase West Bengal elections on Tuesday amidst tight security arrangements in four districts, including some of the most sensitive areas of the state.
Altogether 366 candidates are fighting it out for 63 of the 294-seat West Bengal Assembly vying for the approval of over 1.26 crore voters divided amongst 15,711 polling stations (11,643 main and 4,068 auxiliary).
Of the 360 candidates, 129 candidates are contesting in 16 constituencies of Howrah, 84 in 18 constituencies in Hooghly and 75 candidates in 16 constituencies of East Midnapore. Parts of Burdwan are also up for polls with 78 contestants for 13 seats.
As official polling time ended at 5 pm, the voting percentages are Howrah 77.68%, Hooghly 80.59%, East Midnapore 88.73% and Burdwan 87.32%. Average voting percentage in all four districts is 83.68%.
According to reports, large number of people is still queuing up in front of some of the booths across the four districts.
The Election Commission (EC) said no major incident was reported and the polling has largely been peaceful.
However, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) alleged that Trinamool Congress (TMC) activists beat up the rival party’s candidate and polling agent at a booth in Burdwan.
In the Ketugram area of Burdwan district, CPI-M candidate Syed Abdul Kader alleged that he was attacked by TMC members. However, Trinamool has denied all these allegations.
In Nandigram area of East Medinipur district, police have detained six people, along with their two motorcycles, for creating trouble outside a booth on Tuesday morning.
In another incident, the CPI-M accused TMC workers of booth-jamming in some areas of Hooghly district’s Singur town.
Meanwhile, CPI-M leader and state Commerce and Industries minister Nirupam Sen said: “In Panchayat and Purosabha (Municipal Corporation) elections, TMC and Congress have formed government in recent times and people have already witnessed their performances. So, I feel that Legislative elections are not going to be the same.”
Polling began at 7 am and continued till 5 pm. Election Commission officials assured voters stringent security measures had been taken to allow them exercise their democratic right fearlessly.
Central forces were deployed in all booths. In some sensitive areas they will stay on for two weeks after polling concludes. Besides, armed police forces of West Bengal and some other states were also deployed.
The electors in four districts add up to over 1 crore 26 lakhs 26 thousand. About 16 thousand polling booths were set up.
There are 360 candidates in the fray. Out of them 39 are female candidates, who are contesting in 31 seats.
In Bally constituency of Howrah, where the number of candidates is highest at 13 in this phase, four are women.