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Thursday, May 13, 2021

West Bengal Assembly polls: Despite Covid surge, voters turn up in hordes

There were reports of clashes between TMC and BJP workers in the Shantinagar area of Bidhannagar in which eight people were injured. Police arrested three persons in connection with the incident.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: April 18, 2021 5:31:08 am
election, West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021, west bengal fifth phase of voting, west bengal voting percentage, west bengal news, indian expressVoters wait to cast their vote at Newtown Rajarhat in North 24 Parganas on Saturday. (AP)

Amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases, at least 78.36 per cent of voters turned up to exercise their franchise during the fifth phase of polling in 45 Assembly constituencies spread in six districts of West Bengal till 5 pm on Thursday.

Jalpaiguri (7 seats) recorded 81.73% turnout, followed by Purba Bardhaman (8) at 81.72%, Nadia (8) 81.57%, Darjeeling (5) 74.31%, and North 24 Parganas (16) with 74.83%. Kalimpong recorded the lowest turnout at 69.56%.

“By and large polling has been peaceful in Bengal today barring a few incidents of some violence,” a senior official at the state Chief Electoral Office said.

There were reports of clashes between TMC and BJP workers in the Shantinagar area of Bidhannagar in which eight people were injured. Police arrested three persons in connection with the incident.

At Bijpur in North 24 Parganas, TMC and BJP supporters clashed after the opposition party alleged that voters were being prevented from going to the booths, officials said.

The convoy of Raju Banerjee, the BJP candidate from Kamarhati in North 24 Parganas, was allegedly attacked.

After a BJP supporter’s house was attacked in Gayeshpur, the Election Commission deployed a quick response team. “Two persons have been detained, and a night camp and a police picket have been deployed,” a senior EC official said.

In Siliguri, there was a scuffle between TMC and CPI(M) supporters outside a polling booth.

The EC said that they received 2,241 complaints and 123 people were arrested. “Twenty-three people were arrested in specific cases and another 100 were arrested as preventive measures,” said CEO Aariz Aftab.

Meanwhile, the EC rejected the allegations of firing by Central forces in Deganga constituency of South 24 Parganas while voting was underway.

As per the EC, the matter was immediately probed. “The local police officials visited the booth, talked with the ASI of CRPF contingent Sashi Ranjan Kumar and Presiding Officer of that particular booth. None of them had witnessed anything of this sort in and around that particular booth. There was no report of any gathering, intimidation or any other practice which may warrant any action on the part of security forces stationed at the booth,” read the SP report which was submitted to Special Police Observer Vivek Dube.

In another incident, an Independent candidate in Chakdah Assembly constituency was arrested after he was seen roaming around with firearms.

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