Bengal reports over 78% turnout in fourth phase

Our Bureaus Kolkata/New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on April 25, 2016

Round Four In North 24 Parganas, voter turn-out stood at 79.16 per cent; while in Howrah, it was 75.46 per cent till 5 pm PTI

Over ₹1.5 cr of black money seized by Commission officials

Allegations of electoral malpractices notwithstanding, West Bengal reported a voter turnout of 78.05 per cent in the 49 Assembly constituencies that went to polls in the fourth phase of elections.

The constituencies were spread across the districts of Howrah (16 seats) and North 24 Parganas (33 seats). There were 345 candidates in fray for this phase.

During the last Assembly elections in 2011, these 49 constituencies had reported a voter turnout of 83.81 per cent. The fourth phase included over one crore voters across 12,481 polling stations.

High security

The Election Commission has used 14,353 electronic voting machines (EVMs). The Commission said that but for a few sporadic incidents, this phase went off “smoothly and without any interruption”. According to Anuj Sharma, ADG (Law and Order), West Bengal, a total of 229 arrests have been made today and seven persons have been injured during the polls. No deaths were reported.

Commission officials added that “elaborate and strict” security arrangements were in place, which saw more than 1.01 lakh police personnel deployed and above ₹1.51 crore in illegal money seized. Taking no chances, authorities declared that 6,189 polling stations fell in “vulnerable” or critical areas, officials said.

Violence mars voting

A complaint was filed against BJP’s Roopa Ganguly for “forcibly” entering the booth and taking pictures.

Ganguly is BJP’s candidate from Howrah Uttar. Ganguly is also said to have got into a scuffle with TMC activists after they gheraoed her. The poll panel has apparently sought a report from Howrah district officials on Ganguly’s movements.

In another incident, CPI (M)’s North Dum Dum candidate Tanmoy Bhattacharya sustained injuries following an alleged attack by TMC activists. He alleged that TMC supporters had pelted stones at his car.

Police arrested three people in connection with an attack and intimidation of a family in Halishahar in North 24 Parganas on Sunday night.

The family was asked not to vote and their child roughed-up. Condemning the incident, Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra said: “Even children are not spared. The attacks are a reflection of the Trinamool Congress’ frustration at losing ground.”

The State will have two more phases of polls on April 30 and May 5. Counting of votes will take place on May 19 along with the ballots polled in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will have a one-day poll on May 16.

Published on April 25, 2016
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