BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
Kolkata: More than 60 percent of the 97.42 lakh voters today exercised their right to vote till 3 p.m. in the 54 assembly constituencies in North Bengal in the first phase of polling. So far, no report of any untoward incident has come forward.
According to the state Election Commission sources, 61 percent of the total votes have been polled till 3 p.m.
Cooch Behar District has so far witnessed the highest turnout at 66 percent while the lowest of 57 percent has been recorded in North Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri, they said.
Polling in Darjeeling District was 64 percent, Malda 59 percent and South Dinajpur 60 percent.
Security personnel lathi-charged photo journalists when they followed minister Sailen Sarkar inside a booth at the Malda Women’s College in Malda District, ignoring a warning not to do so, official sources said.
The presiding officer of a polling booth in Hariram Constituency in South Dinajpur District was removed for speaking to minister Narayan Biswas over phone.
Presiding officer of a booth at Kumargram in Jalpaiguri District, Maheswar Rai, suffered a heart attack and was rushed to Alipurduar Hospital.
The fate of 364 candidates, including 11 ministers – Ashok Bhattacharya, Kshiti Goswami, Biswanath Chowdhury, Kironmoy Nanda, Narayan Biswas and Srikumar Mukherjee – will be decided today.
Congress leader Debaprasad Roy and Trinamool Congress Darjeeling district president Gautam Deb are also in the fray.