February 26, 2021 8:15:46 pm
The Election Commission (EC) on Friday announced the poll dates for four states, including West Bengal. The state, which is currently under Trinamool Congress rule, will poll in eight phases starting March 27.
The last phase of polling for a total of 294 Assembly constituencies has been scheduled for April 29. The first phase of polling will be held at 30 constituencies, while the next on April 1 will cover another 30 Assembly seats.
The third phase, involving 31 seats, has been scheduled for April 6, while the fourth phase of polling across 44 constituencies will be held on April 10.
Polling for the fifth phase will be conducted on April 17 across 45 seats, while the sixth phase on April 22 will cover 43 seats.
The seventh phase, which has been scheduled for April 26, will decide the fates of 36 Assembly constituencies. The final phase of polling on April 29 will be held across 35 seats.
At a press briefing on Friday, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora informed that two special observers will be appointed for West Bengal polls and if needed, a third will be sent.
In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to pose a grave risk to public health, the number of polling stations in all states have been increased and voting will be allowed for an extra hour to prevent rush and long queues at the stations. In West Bengal, polling stations will see an increase of 31.65 per cent, the CEC informed.
Also, adequate deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) will be ensured during the elections, Arora said, adding that all critical and vulnerable polling stations have been identified and advance teams have already been stationed.
The poll panel has deployed 125 companies of CAPF personnel in Bengal to ensure law and order during the canvassing phase.
According to Election Commission (EC) officials, the contingent of central force personnel in Bengal comprises 60 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 30 companies of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), 25 companies of Border Security Force (BSF) and five each of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The heavy security deployment comes in the wake of both the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP accusing each other of killing their party workers.
Counting of votes in Bengal, along with Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry, has been scheduled on May 2.
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