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Amid Covid fear in West Bengal, a dip in polling

Under various preventive measures, 742 people were arrested and another 11 for violation of prohibitory orders under section 144.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: April 27, 2021 5:16:07 am
Bengal covid polling electionsVoters standing in a queue outside a polling booth in Kolkata on Monday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

The seventh phase of the ongoing Assembly polls for 34 constituencies recorded the lowest till 5 pm voter turnout at 75.06 per cent on Monday as the state continued to post more than 15,000 daily coronavirus cases.

The Covid impact on voters was more visible in South Kolkata with 59.91 per cent voting. Among the rest four districts, Murshidabad posted the highest turnout at 80.30 per cent, followed by Dakshin Dinajpur’s 80.21 per cent, Malda’s 78.76 per cent and Paschim Bardhaman’s 70.34 per cent.

According to the chief electoral officer’s (CEO) office data for the previous voting rounds till 5 pm, Phase 1 saw 79.79 per cent turnout; Phase 2, 80.43 per cent; Phase 3, 77.68 per cent; Phase 4, 76.16 per cent; Phase 5, 78.36 per cent; and Phase 6, 79.09 per cent. The last eighth phase is to be held on April 29.

Voters were seen adhering Covid-19 protocols by wearing masks and gloves.

CEO Aariz Aftab said, “The voting was peaceful. No incident was reported from anywhere.”

Under various preventive measures, 742 people were arrested and another 11 for violation of prohibitory orders under section 144.

“There was no report of any blast today which I consider a significant achievement despite polls being conducted in sensitive places such as Malda and Murshidabad. As many as 57 bombs have been recovered, of which 22 were from Murshidabad and the rest from Kolkata,” said ADG (Law and Order) Jag Mohan.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, TMC MP Nusrat Jahan and several other leaders cast their votes. Mamata flashed a victory symbol after exercising her franchise outside a polling station in Bhabanipur.

A few incidents related to barring entry of agents into polling booth, altercations between BJP and TMC supporters and an alleged attack on a BJP candidate’s car were reported.

BJP’s Rashbehari candidate Lt Gen Subrata Saha’s agent Mohan Rao was detained for several hours by New Alipore police station after he was accused of misbehaving with a few women at the Bidya Bharati School polling booth. However, he was later released.

In Jamuria, Left Front candidate Aishe Ghosh alleged that her party agents were prevented from entering booths by TMC workers.

TMC’s Asansol candidate Saayoni Ghosh entered into an argument with police while she was trying to enter a booth at Shantinagar area of Hirapur.

In another incident, BJP’s South Asansol Agnimitra Paul took off a cap with the TMC symbol of an agent at booth number 287 of Baktarnagar
High School in Raniganj. She alleged that the the TMC agent was trying to influence voters by wearing the cap.

BJP Raninagar candidate Masuhara Khatoon alleged that her car was vandalised by TMC supporters.

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