The voting in the second phase of Assembly election for 56 constituencies in West Bengal will take place on Sunday amidst an Election Commission’s showcause notice to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and TMC leader Anubrata Mondal being under the poll body surveillance.
Over 1.2 crore voters will seal the fate of 383 candidates, 33 of them women, in six north Bengal districts – Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda – and Birbhum in south Bengal.
The Election Commission had showcaused Mamata on April 14 for violating Model Code of Conduct. Immediately after hearing the news, an unperturbed Mamata had dared the poll body to take action against her and said people of the state would showcause it on May 19, the day of the result.
Meanwhile, Birbhum has become a centre of attraction with the Election Commission keeping controversial Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mandal under 24×7 surveillance of the central police force. In both the cases, the EC initiated action on the basis of complaints lodged by the Opposition parties. In Birbhum, seven constituencies of Dubrajpur, Suri, Nalhati, Rampurhat, Sainthia, Hansan, and Murarai have been classified as left-wing extremism affected areas where polling will be held from 7 AM till 4 PM.
An elaborate multi-tier security arrangements have been made in these areas. In the remaining constituencies, voters will get two hour extra and can vote till 6 PM. Out of over 13,600 poll stations, the EC has identified 2909 as vulnerable where extra precaution is being taken to ensure free and fair elections. The highest number of vulnerable booths are in the districts of Malda and Uttar Dinajpur.
Based on complaints received from the electorates, the poll watchdog has identified 16,315 voters as vulnerable. Most of them from Malda and Birbhum districts.