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Friday, May 07, 2021

West Bengal polls: Amid violence, 76% turn up at booths

Cooch Behar recorded 79.93 per cent votes, followed by Hooghly's 76.02 per cent, South 24 Parganas's 75.49 per cent, Howrah's 75.03 per cent and Alipurduar's 73.65 percent.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
April 11, 2021 3:26:56 am
west bengal elections 2021, west bengal polls, west bengal elections, west bengal assembly elections 2021, west bengal news, fourth phase west bengal elections, india news, indian expressA polling booth at Natabari in Cooch Behar on Saturday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

Fourty-four Assembly seats in West Bengal recorded a 76.16 per cent voter turnout in the fourth phase of voting till 5pm on Saturday, a day marked by the death of five persons in two separate incidents in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district.

Cooch Behar recorded 79.93 per cent votes, followed by Hooghly’s 76.02 per cent, South 24 Parganas’s 75.49 per cent, Howrah’s 75.03 per cent and Alipurduar’s 73.65 percent.

“Apart from the two incidents in one district, the poll was conducted peacefully,” said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Aariz Aftab.

Talking about the two incidents, Aftab said, “Under the Mathabhanga PS, there was some commotion between two groups. A QRT (quick response team) rushed to the place. More villagers gathered and a firing took place. In this firing, four persons died and some got injured. We have sought a report from the district magistrate and local police over the incident. Once we get the report only then we will be able to share more details. In another incident outside booth number 285 at 8am, a voter died when he was returning after casting his vote. He was shot by miscreants. Two suspects have been detained.”

A TMC delegation met the CEO in Kolkata. Senior TMC leader Saugata Roy accused CAPF of firing without provocation.

“The firing was done without provocation. This is unprecedented. The death toll may rise. The Union Home Affairs Ministry has not issued any statement in connection with this incident. We have noticed that PM is giving provocative speeches at a time when polls are also being conducted side by side. Maybe, the BJP wants to create fear amongst people,” said state minister Subrata Mukherjee.

A BJP delegation also met the CEO over the death of five people. “In my opinion, these incidents happened because of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s old statement calling for a ‘gherao’ of central forces,” said BJP MP Jyotirmay Singh Mahato

Total 956 CAPF companies, including 736 on poll duty, were deployed. Cooch Behar saw the maximum number of CAPF companies at 183, followed by 99 in Howrah city, 96 in Alipurduar, 94 in Kolkata, 79 in Chandannagar, 44 in Baruipur, 38 in Diamond Harbour and 35 in Howrah.

The 44 seats are spread over South 24 Parganas (11 seats), Hooghly (10), Howrah (nine), Cooch Behar (nine) and Alipurduar (five) districts.

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