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Thursday, May 13, 2021

West Bengal: Final round of voting today in Covid shadow

As many as six Assembly constituencies in Malda ( Part 2), 11 in Murshidabad (part 2), 7 in Kolkata North and 11 in Birbhum will go to the polls.

Written by Sweety Kumari | Kolkata |
April 29, 2021 4:20:12 am
Covid-19 India Second Wave, West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021, election, west bengal elections, election news, west bengal last phase election, indian expressA polling official in PPE suit in Kolkata Wednesday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

Amid tight security and the second wave of Covid-19, Bengal will vote in the final and eighth phase of the Assembly polls on Thursday. Polling will take place in 35 Assembly constituencies across four districts.

As many as six Assembly constituencies in Malda ( Part 2), 11 in Murshidabad (part 2), 7 in Kolkata North and 11 in Birbhum will go to the polls. Apart from 35 Assembly constituencies 126 number polling station in Sitalkuchi will also vote. Polling was adjourned after four persons had died in firing by CAPF recently.

Of a total of 283 contestant in final phase many ministers, Mps and former mayors are in the fray. Some of the prominent faces include state minister for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Shashi Panja from Shyampur, State Consumer Affairs Minister Sadhan Pandey from Maniktala, former Rajyasabha MP and President of Hindi Cell Vivek Gupta from Jorasanko, Former deputy mayor Meena Devi Purohit of BJP from Jorasanko, Deputy Mayor Atin Ghosh of TMC from Kashipur-Belgachia,

Chandranath Sinha from Bolpur. Former ministers, including TMC leaders Sabitri Mitra from Manikchak, Yasmin Sabina from Mothabari, Humayun Kabir from Bharatpur and Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury from English Bazar, senior BJP leader Swadhin Kumar Sarkar from Baishnabnagar and Congress chief whip Manoj Chakraborty from Baharampur are also in the race.

As many as 64 candidates have declared criminal cases against them. Of these, 50 have declared serious criminal cases.

A total 84,77,728 voters which includes 43,55,835 male, 41,21,735 women and 158 of the third gender will decide the fate of all these candidates in the final phase tomorrow by exercising their franchise between 7 am and 6.30 pm.

Meanwhile, special attention will be given on Covid protocols to ensure the safety of the polling officials and voters. In view of the pandemic, maximum 1,000 electors will be allowed. A total of 11,860 polling stations have been set up. It will be ensured that every polling station is equipped with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) such as drinking water, waiting shed, toilets, adequate arrangements for lighting and ramp of appropriate gradient for the Persons with Disabilities. Even masks and gloves have also been made available and if needed even voters will be given masks from the polling booth. Polling stations have already been sanitised. Thermal checking of voters at entry point either by polling staff or paramedical staff or an Asha worker is mandatory.

If temperature is above the set norms of Health Ministry, the elector will be provided with token and asked to come for voting at the last hour of poll. At this time, such electors will be facilitated for voting, strictly following Covid-related preventive measures,” said an official. The polling process is already over in 257 out of the total 294 Assembly seats in the earlier seven phases. Counting will be done on May 2, Sunday.

However, fresh poll will be conducted in Samserganj and Jangipur Assembly Constituencies in West Bengal where the poll process was adjourned due to death of the concerned candidates.

The polling in these two constituencies will now be held on May 16 and the whole process of elections will be completed by May 21.

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