West Bengal elections: 78.25% voter turnout in the 5th phase of assembly polls

About 1.2 crore voters are eligible to cast their votes at over 14,500 polling booths from 7 AM to 6 PM.

By: Express Web Desk | Kolkata | Updated: April 30, 2016 7:43:31 pm
Voters after casting their vote for the 5th phase of West Bengal Assembly elections. (ANI) Voters after casting their vote for the 5th phase of West Bengal Assembly elections. (ANI)

Voting for the crucial fifth phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal began on Saturday in which a number of heavyweights, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, are in the fray.

Altogether 349 candidates, including 43 women, are trying their luck in Saturday’s election across three districts – Kolkata South, South 24 Parganas and Hooghly.

About 1.2 crore voters are eligible to cast their votes at over 14,500 polling booths from 7 AM to 6 PM.

The centre of attraction in this phase is Bhawanipur constituency where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is pitted against former union minister Deepa Dasmunshi of the Congress.

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5: 05 pm: 72 per cent voting till 3 pm.

3:45 pm: 57 % voting recorded till 1 pm.

2:20 pm: Trinamool MP Moon Moon Sen and her daughters have cast their votes at a polling booth.

1:45 pm: 54.75% polling recorded till 1 pm in the fifth phase of polling

1:00 pm: Violence has been reported in Basanti constituency in South 24 Parganas between TMC and RSP workers. Six RSP workers have reportedly been injured.

The trouble started near the Bhangarkhali primary school polling booth when two women, wives of TMC workers, reportedly started influencing voters. This in turn got the RSP local workers agitated. Following which, around 11:30 am, the first wave of violence began by TMC workers on the RSP workers. Locals alleged police did not do anything. Then, there were two more waves of violence one of which was led by RSP workers on the Trinamool. Paramilitary forces have now been deployed in the area and there was a mild lathicharge reported on the agitated workers of the two parties.

Aniruddha Ghosal reports from the ground.

Atiyar Sheikh, a Left polling agent (below) has been hit on his head.

cpm_polling_759 Athiyar Sheikh, the Left polling agent injured in the attack in Basanti (Photo by Aniruddha Ghosal)

11:45 am: There are no CPM polling agents in any booth in the East Canning constituency, Aniruddha Ghosal reports. One said, “People are afraid of talking to us.”

11:30 am: 38.15% votes cast till 11 am, reports news agency ANI

11:20 am: Former India captain Saurav Ganguly casts his vote

11:00 am: Long queues in Chandaneswar village under East Canning constituency.

(Express photo by Partha Paul) (Express photo by Partha Paul)

10:10 am: BJP’s Bhawanipur candidate Chandra Bose has cast his vote.

10:00 am: Overall voting percentage recorded at 9 am shows nearly 20% votes being cast.

9:45 am: Reports of clashes between Left and Trinamool workers in Hooghly. Incident has been reported in Arambagh

8:30 am: TMC leader Derek O’Brien casts his vote.

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The other prominent candidate in Bhawanipur is Chandra Kumar Bose, grand nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, contesting on a BJP ticket.

Along with the Saradha chitfund scam and ‘Syndicate raj’ (local real estate cartel for supply of building material), the Narada sting tapes has also been a major poll issue in the state.

Apart from deploying a strong contingent of 90,000 personnel of central and state police forces, the poll panel has also ordered imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPc in all constituencies on polling day.

Sizzling heatwave is a worry for voters as Kolkata had on Friday recorded 40.4 degrees temperature, five degrees above normal.

A number of political heavyweights and key ministers like Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Manish Gupta, Partha Chatterjee, Javed Ahmed Khan and city mayor Sovan Chatterjee will try their luck in this phase of election.

Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim and Sovan Chatterjee were purportedly seen in the Narada sting video tapes.

Star candidates in this phase include Bengali singer Indranil Sen and Indian midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi, who has been the skipper of Indian Super League side Mumbai City FC.

CPI(M) leaders Kanti Ganguly, Rabin Deb and Sujan Chakraborty are also trying their luck this phase of polling.

Abdur Razzak Mollah, who courted controversy for allegedly using derogatory language against actor-turned-BJP leader Roopa Ganguly, is also trying his luck on a Trinamool ticket from Bhangar seat in South 24 Parganas district.

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(With PTI inputs)

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