Kolkata: West Bengal Assembly elections yesterday witnessed almost peaceful polling for 63 seats in the fourth phase of the state assembly elections. According to the Election Commission, 84.8% votes were polled amid minor incidents of violence. As compared to the 2009 Parliamentary election, this percentage is a bit higher.
A total of 1.26 crore electorates will decide the fate of 366 candidates, including several ministers, in 15,711 polling stations.
Talking about yesterday’s poll, Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kumar Gupta said that although polling was not disrupted anywhere because of the deployment of a large number of security personnel, 67 people were arrested as preventive measures from the four districts where elections were held.
In 2006 assembly polls, these 63 constituencies, which went on polls yesterday and are spread over Howrah, Hoogly, East Midnapur and parts of Burdwan Districts, had witnessed 83.19% voting, Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said.
The Election Commission had put chief electoral officers of Bihar and Orissa as special observers, over and above the general observers and expenditure observers to monitor the polls.
While two presiding officers were replaced in Hooghly for allegedly trying to influence voters at two booths in Pursura and Arambag constituencies, five others were shifted out due to illness, he added. Two more polling officers were replaced for “poor performance”. As many as 133 EVMs were replaced during polling.
Moreover, residents in the four booths of Shyampur and Amta Assembly seats in Howrah and Katwa seat in Burdwan District boycotted the polls citing lack of development in the area.
Meanwhile, the CPM alleged intimidation by Trinamool workers at Nandigram. Left Front Chairman Biman Bose told journalists in Kolkata: “Trinamool people threatened us uninterruptedly and there were numerous incidents of disturbance and booth capture.”
He alleged that three homeless people from Nandigram were abducted while they were returning after casting their votes at Bhangaberia. “Our polling agents were not allowed to enter in 98 booths. The security arrangement has to be stricter for the next two phases, as elections will be held in trouble-torn areas of Junglemahal,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also got two FIRs registered against Trinamool workers, accusing them of assaulting party leaders at Chapdani.
The constituencies went on polls during this phase include Nandigram and Singur, which changed the political scene in the state in the last few years.
In addition, CPI(M) heavyweight and Industries Minister Nirupam Sen, other CPI(M) ministers in the fray include Higher Education Minister Sudarshan Roychowdhury, Food Processing Minister Mohanta Chatterjee, Minister of state for Information and Culture Soumendranath Bera and Technical Education Minister Chakradhar Maikap.
Agriculture Minister Naren Dey belonging to Forward Bloc and Fire Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee belonging to Marxist Forward Bloc have also contested the polls.
The six-phase election will end on May 10.