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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Bengal casts 50.96 pc votes till 1 PM across 3 LS seats


An estimated 50.96 per cent of 5.6 million electorate exercised their franchise till 1 PM in the three Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal — Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri.

Polling has been by and large peaceful so far with long queues seen outside many polling stations.

A total of 27,63,506 women are expected to exercise their constitutional rights to elect their representatives from among 30 odd contestants in some 5814 booths until 5 pm amid Sandeshkhali incident ripe in voters’ mind.

About 250 companies of armed central forces were deployed and some 10,000 state police personnel have been posted to ensure peaceful and fair polling.

Thirteen extra CAPF companies were put on reserve to be used in case of any exigency.

Poll officials and election observers are monitoring the voting process in the field with no major incidents reported so far.

The Election Commission has restricted Bengal Minister Udayan Guha to his Dinhata segment after Cooch Behar’s BJP contestant Nishith Pramanik appealed to the poll panel against his alleged intimidation. Guha was seen at the Dinhata police station this morning to complain an alleged attack on the TMC block president at Jenkins High School in Dinhata.

Though the contest is said to be multi-cornered, real fight is restricted between state ruling Trinamool Congress and main opposition – the Bharatiya Janata Party. The latter won all the three seats in 2019 Lok Sabha poll.

The Left Front and Congress are among other political parties, in the run up. The majority of the candidates are Independents.

The contest is expected to be between Union Minister Pramanik and TMC’s Jagadish Chandra Barma Basunia in the Cooch Behar seat, in Alipurduar between Monoj Tigga (BJP) and TMC’s Prakash Chik Baraik, and in Jalpaiguri between Jayanta Kumar Roy of BJP and Nirmal Chandra Roy from the ruling party.

Nishith Pramanik exercised his franchise in the first phase polling.

Pramanik accused State Minister Udayan Guha of fomenting violence, saying Guha knows it fully well that the Trinamool Congress is going to lick dust.

He said, ” Whatever the electorate will decide, we are going to accept. “

Guha accused the poll officials of “siding” with the BJP.

He said he has never seen that the central forces have been deployed a month before the polling day.

Meanwhile, reports of stray violent incidents have been reported from Sitalkuchi, Mathabhanga, Sitai and elsewhere.

There has been no report of any untoward incident from a single polling booth, being guarded by armed central forces.

So far 383 allegations have been received by the poll panel in the first five hours.

Poll panel in Delhi has sought action taken reports from Cooch Behar, official sources said.

The voting process commenced at 7 AM under a tight security arrangement.

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