scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Monday, May 10, 2021

West Bengal Assembly Elections Highlights: Voting for penultimate phase concludes, over 75% turnout till 5.31 pm

West Bengal Assembly Election 2021 Phase 7 Voting Highlights: BJP candidate from the Rashbehari assembly constituency Lt Gen Subrata Saha's agent was detained on Monday for allegedly molesting a few women voters inside a polling booth in the city's New Alipore area, police said. Rao, however, rubbished the allegations and said no such incident had taken place.

By: Express Web Desk | Kolkata |
Updated: April 27, 2021 8:54:16 am
People queue up outside a polling booth in Kolkata on Monday. (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

West Bengal Elections 2021 Highlights: Voting for the penultimate phase of Bengal polls ended at 6.30 pm. Polling took place across 34 seats in parts of Paschim Bardhaman, Dakshin Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Malda and south Kolkata during this phase. A voter turnout of 75.06% was recorded till 5.31 pm.

TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, after casting his vote in Kolkata, predicted a 2/3rd majority for the Mamata Banerjee government.

A few incidents of scuffle were reported from the Asansol area, where TMC candidate Saayoni Ghosh claimed that BJP activists tried to jam booths in her constituency. The allegation was dubbed as baseless by BJP candidate Agnimitra Paul, who asserted, “Ghosh is making excuses sensing defeat”. In the Jamuria constituency, Left Front candidate Aishe Ghosh alleged that her party agents were stopped from entering the booth by TMC workers, a charge denied by the ruling party.

BJP candidate from the Rashbehari assembly constituency Lt Gen Subrata Saha’s agent was detained on Monday for allegedly molesting a few women voters inside a polling booth in Kolkata’s New Alipore area, police said. Mohan Rao was detained after several women voters claimed he tried to drag them holding their hands inside Bidya Bharati School, a police officer said. “We have received a complaint in this regard and a probe is underway,” he said. Rao, however, rubbished the allegations and said no such incident had taken place. “TMC activists are trying to create disturbance in the area. This is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the peaceful polling process,” Saha said.

Live Blog

Abhisekh Banerjee predicts 2/3rd majority for Mamata government; BJP candidate Lt Gen Subrata Saha's agent detained for allegedly molesting women; Scuffle reported from parts of Asansol.

22:50 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Polling by and large peaceful during seventh phase of election

An estimated 75 per cent votes were cast on Monday in West Bengal in the seventh and penultimate phase of the assembly election, which was by and large peaceful, an EC official said.

Malda, Murshidabad and Dakshin Dinajpur are minority-dominated and the fight in these districts is between TMC and the Congress-ISF-Left alliance, except in a few pockets where the BJP has gained strength.

Except for a few stray incidents of violence, polling was by and large peaceful. (PTI)

20:30 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Close contests expected in five constituencies that will go to polls in last phase

Campaigning for the eighth and final phase of polling for 35 assembly constituencies in West Bengal, scheduled to be held on April 29, ended at 6.30 pm on Monday.

The focus in this phase of polling will be on five assembly constituencies in Kolkata north —Beleghata, Jorsanko, Shyampukur, Maniktala, Kashipur-Belgachia — as a neck and neck contest is expected between TMC heavyweights and BJP challengers.

A total 84,77,728 voters — 43,55,835 men, 41,21,735 women and 158 of the third gender —are eligible to decide the fate of 283 candidates in Thursday's polling which will be held in six constituencies of Malda, 11 in Murshidabad, seven in Kolkata North and 11 in Birbhum, Election Commission sources said.

The polling will be held between 7 am to 6.30 pm in 11,860 polling stations, they said.

While 11 candidates each have been fielded by Trinamool Congress, BSP and BJP, CPI(M) is contesting in four seats, Congress in three, AIFB in 2 and RSP (1), the EC sources said. There are four Independent candidates in the fray as well, they said. (PTI)

18:47 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Voting concludes for seventh phase of Bengal polls

Voting for the seventh phase of Bengal polls came to an end at 6.30 pm. Parts of Paschim Bardhaman, Dakshin Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Malda and south Kolkata voted during this phase.

18:33 (IST)26 Apr 2021
TMC displayed lowest level of ethics during these polls, language used by Mamata can't be the language of Bengal: Nadda

Holding a press conference, BJP national president J P Nadda says, “In this election, Mamata Ji tried to create false narratives. But I salute the electorate of Bengal who rejected these narratives and gave their support and blessings to BJP.”

He adds, “This West Bengal election was unprecedented and unique in its own way. With a lot of maturity, in spite of all provocations, a high standard of electioneering maintained by BJP. TMC displayed the lowest level of ethics, immature, provocative electioneering. The word she (Mamata Banerjee) used along with my name...is it in accordance with the culture and language of Bengal? We represent Bengali culture. With full pride, I can say that no other person lives Bengali culture as much as I do. The language used by her can't be Bengal's language.” (ANI)

17:48 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Over 75% voter turnout recorded till 5.31 pm

EC says 75.06% voter turnout has been recorded till 5.31 pm.

16:24 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Mamata casts her vote in Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after casting her vote at a booth in south Kolkata on Monday (Express photo by Partha Paul)

15:57 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Mamata welcomes Madras HC order, demands withdrawal of central forces who may be infected with Covid

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday demanded withdrawal of central forces to contain Covid spread in West Bengal in the next phase of polling, while welcoming the Madras High Court’s observations that the Election Commission could not avoid blame for the spread of Covid.

“I welcome the Madras High Court order, which clearly said the EC cannot escape its responsibility. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and EC are responsible for the (current) situation (of Covid spreading in the state),” Banerjee alleged at a workers’ meeting in North Kolkata where party candidates and workers were present.

The Madras High Court on Monday said that the Election Commission of India (ECI) is singularly responsible for spreading Covid-19 and murder charges should probably be imposed on it for its “irresponsible” behaviour. Criticising the ECI for not stopping political parties from violating the Covid protocols, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said, “You (ECI) are the only institution responsible for the situation that we are in today.” Read more

15:53 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Voter turnout of 67% recorded till 3 pm

A voter turnout of 67.27% was recorded till 3 pm in the seventh phase of West Bengal Assembly elections. A polling of 72.58% was recorded in Dakshin Dinajpur, 70.14% in Malda, 72.66% in Murshidabad, 52.97% in Kolkata South and 62.42% in Paschim Bardhaman. (ENS)

15:18 (IST)26 Apr 2021
EC transfers more police officers in Bengal

The Election Commission transferred a few police officers as West Bengal voted in the seventh phase of assembly polls on Monday, officials said.

Shantanu Sinha Biswas, an inspector at the Directorate of Economic Offences, was transferred to the office of the DIG Jalpaiguri Range as a crime inspector, they said.

Sinha was accused by the BJP of manipulating postal ballots.

Srimanta Kumar Bandopadhyay, the Assistant Commissioner of Asansol-Durgapur Police, was named the new Sub-divisional Police Officer of Bolpur, as per an order issued on Sunday night.

Shubhendra Kumar, the present SDPO of Bolpur, was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Nihar Ranjan Roy, the circle inspector of Krishnaganj in Krishnanagar police district, was made the new inspector in charge of the Murshidabad police station, replacing Atish Das, the order said.

Das was moved to the Police Directorate, it added. (PTI)

15:15 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Scuffle reported from Asansol area

A few incidents of scuffle were reported from the Asansol area, where TMC candidate Sayoni Ghosh claimed that BJP activists tried to jam booths in her constituency.

The allegation was dubbed as baseless by BJP candidate Agnimitra Paul, who asserted, "Ghosh is making excuses sensing defeat".

In the Jamuria constituency, Left Front candidate Aishe Ghosh alleged that her party agents were stopped from entering the booth by TMC workers, a charge denied by the ruling party. (PTI)

15:13 (IST)26 Apr 2021
BJP candidate's agent detained for molesting women voters in Kolkata

BJP candidate from the Rashbehari assembly constituency Lt Gen Subrata Saha's agent was detained on Monday for allegedly molesting a few women voters inside a polling booth in the city's New Alipore area, police said.

Mohan Rao was detained after several women voters claimed he tried to drag them holding their hands inside Bidya Bharati School, a police officer said.

"We have received a complaint in this regard and a probe is underway," he said.

Rao, however, rubbished the allegations and said no such incident had taken place.

"TMC activists are trying to create disturbance in the area. This is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the peaceful polling process," Saha said. (PTI)

14:36 (IST)26 Apr 2021
BJP candidate Parno Mittra tests positive for Covid-19

BJP candidate Parno Mittra on Monday said she has tested positive for Covid-19. Mittra, an actor by profession, is the BJP candidate from Baranagar in North 24 Parganas where the election was held on April 17.

"I wish to share an important update with everyone. I have tested Covid positive. I request whoever has been in, or come into, contact with me in the last 7 days, please do quarantine yourselves, get tested and take care. Lastly, please continue to be safe and wear mask," she said. (PTI)

13:42 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Bengal voter turnout goes past 50%

West Bengal recoded a voter turnout of 55.12% till 1:32 pm on Monday. (ANI)

11:45 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Voter turnout at 37.72% till 11.30 am

Voter turnout climbed up to 37.72% at 11.30 am from 17.47% at 9.30 am on Monday as Bengal voted for the penultimate time in the eight-phase election. (ANI)

11:18 (IST)26 Apr 2021
BJP polling agent in Malda alleges he was pushed out of booth by TMC workers

A polling agent of the BJP alleges that he was pushed out of booth number 91 in Ratua, Malda, by Trinamool Congress workers. Members of the TMC, who are residents of the village, told me that they won't let me enter the booth there as I am not a voter there. They forcefully pushed me out and threatened to hit me,” Sankar Sakar said. (ANI)

10:39 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Polling agent wearing cap with Mamata's picture on it despite EC's regulations: BJP's Agnimitra Paul

Agnimitra Paul, the BJP candidate from Asansol Dakshin Assembly constituency, said a TMC polling agent was wearing a cap with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s photo on it inside the booth at Baktarnagar High School despite the Election Commission clearly stating that agents cannot wear anything with a party’s symbol or a leader’s picture on it. “The presiding officer says that he's unwell and did not see it. This is one of Mamata Banerjee's tricks as she knows that people won't vote for her. Her time is up. I will lodge a complaint regarding this,” she added. (ANI)

09:47 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Voter turnout in West Bengal at 17.47% till 9.30 am

17.47% voter turnout recorded till 9:32 am for the seventh phase of the West Bengal polls. (ANI)

09:22 (IST)26 Apr 2021
EC only listens to PM Modi and Amit Shah, says TMC MP Nusrat Jahan

TMC MP Nusrat Jahan and her parents cast their votes at a polling booth in Kolkata. “Wherever I've been campaigning, I've seen people’s support towards Mamata Banerjee,” she said, while adding, “When PM Modi decided he won't hold any public meetings, EC decided to call off all public meetings. It only listens to the Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.” (ANI)

09:13 (IST)26 Apr 2021
In the mining villages of Raniganj, broken roads, homes — and system

Cycling home from work, Sajjan Chakraborty pauses next to a board welcoming one to the Sonpur Bazaari open-cast coal mine in West Bengal’s Raniganj. He removes the cloth wrapped around his face to wipe off his sweat. A layer of black soot appears on his finger.

“This cloth you see across my face is not because of corona. For years, we have to do this to protect ourselves from the coal dust. The corona hell has only come now. For people that live here, it has always been hell,” says the carpenter.

The residents of the mining villages of Raniganj are all too familiar with this soot emanating from the Sonpur Bazaari mine. For decades, it has covered their broken roads, flown into their cracked homes, and seeped into their lungs and bodies. (Read Dipankar Ghose's report)

08:24 (IST)26 Apr 2021
Extremely confident that Mamata Banerjee will be back with 2/3rd majority: Abhishek Banerjee

TMC MP cast his vote at Mitra Institution in Bhabanipur, Kolkata. “Extremely confident that Mamata Banerjee will be back with 2/3rd majority...People are dying but EC is conducting 8-phase polls to benefit a party," he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister addresses a virtual rally in Murshidabad on Saturday. (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

Voting is being held at 12,068 polling stations on Monday. The poll panel has decided to deploy at least 796 companies of central forces for this phase. The seventh phase of polls will be held at a time when the pandemic has been raging in Bengal and in other parts of the country. On Saturday, the state registered 14,281 new Covid cases and 59 more deaths.

Among the keenly watched contests is the battle for the prestigious Bhabanipur seat, which was vacated by incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as she decided to contest from Nandigram this time. TMC has fielded veteran politician and state power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay from the constituency as the party hopes to bag the seat for a third consecutive time. Up against him will be popular Bengali actor Rudranil Ghosh, who is contesting on a BJP ticket.

For Chattopadhyay, who had fought assembly elections seven times and won each of the contests, the constituency is his home turf as he is a resident of the area and exercises his franchise there. Ghosh, who has received accolades for his performances in films like ‘Vinci Da’ and ‘Chaplin’, has said a large section of people in Bhabanipur are non-Bengalis and may have not watched his films, but they are aware of his social work in the area. “People in Bhabanipur have become disillusioned with Mamata Banerjee in the last couple of years. She fled to Nandigram sensing imminent defeat here,” Ghosh, who was once an aide of the TMC supremo but fell out with her two years back, told PTI.

Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim, Tollywood actor Saayoni Ghosh in fray today

Another heavyweight candidate is state minister Firhad Hakim who is also seeking re-election for a third consecutive term from the Kolkata Port constituency. Also among those who have been generating considerable interest this time is Lt Gen (retd) Subrata Saha, a surprise pick in many ways, who has been fielded by the BJP from the Rashbehari seat. He had served as the Deputy Chief of Army and has been involved in the Modi government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ defence programme since retirement and serving a second term as a member of the National Security Advisory Board. Saha will be up against the TMC’s Debasish Kumar, who is also a Kolkata Municipal Corporation councillor. The Rashbehari seat has traditionally been a TMC stronghold.

The other battle to watch out for will be the one for the Asansol South seat where Tollywood actor Saayoni Ghosh fielded by TMC will lock horns with fashion designer Agnimitra Paul who is contesting on a BJP ticket. TMC’s Tapas Banerjee had won from the constituency in 2011 and 2016. The seat comes under the Asansol Lok Sabha constituency, which was won by BJP’s Babul Supriyo in 2014 and 2019.

The Jamuria seat in the coal belt of Paschim Bardhaman will also witness an interesting battle as the Left-Congress-ISF alliance has fielded young CPI(M) face and JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh. The Jamuria seat remains a traditional Left stronghold.

Following the surge in Covid cases, the EC has banned roadshows and vehicle rallies in the state and disallowed any public meeting with more than 500 people. It also stated that Covid safety norms have not been adhered to while campaigning in the state.

EC dismisses Mamata allegation against special observers

The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday dismissed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegation that the poll body’s special observers were ordering the police to detain her party workers during polling hours.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the EC said the TMC leader’s claim was “baseless, false and misleading” and that “no such instructions have been given by any Observer, Chief Electoral Officer or Officer of the Commission to act against workers” of any party.

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
x