The high-voltage campaign for Sunday’s crucial second phase of polls in 56 assembly constituencies in West Bengal came to an end on Friday evening.
More than 1.21 crore voters will exercise their franchise in the second phase of election scheduled to be held on April 17.
The election will be held in 56 constituencies which comprises of seven districts. They are Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Birbhum and Malda respectively having 5,7,6,9,6,11 and 12 constituencies. There are 358 candidates contesting for these seats.
The Election Commission of India has taken elaborate measures to ensure free and fair election in the state. In Birbhum, which is the seventh constituency, election will be held between 7 am to 4 pm while in the remaining 49 constituencies election will be held between 7 am to 6 pm. Election in Dubrajpur, Rampurhat, Suri, Sainthia,Nalhati, Muraroi and Sashan, which comes under Birbhum constituency, will be held between 7 am to 4 pm because of security reason.
Eight hundred companies of Central Forces will be deployed to maintain peace. The forces conducted route march in the areas on Friday. There are 13,645 polling stations. The EC has identified 2,909 vulnerable polling stations of which 736 are located in Malda. In Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Darjeeling, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Birbhum the number of vulnerable polling stations are 434, 254, 198, 671, 142 and 474. Special arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful election. Senior officials of EC said that there were 311 model polling stations and 169 polling stations have been manned exclusively by women.
There are 15,692 electronic voting machines (EVMs). The EC has left no stones unturned to ensure peaceful election. CCTVs and mobile surveillance have been installed.
In addition to this 110 RT mobile vans will be deployed for patrolling. Besides this there will be aerial amb ulance and arrangements to provide water to the voters who will be queuing up to exercise their franchise braving excessive heat. The Commission has identified 3,985 vulnerable hamlets of which 1,220 are situated in Malda. There are 834 such hamlets in north Dinajpur and 644 in Jalpaiguri.
EC officials said that vigil around these hamlets has been intensified and along with state police Central Forces personnel conducted route march in these areas.
“It is EC’s responsibility to conduct free and fair election and all steps have been taken to do that. Observers would visit the polling stations and ECI will be informed from time to time.”