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Bengal polls: 75.06% voter turnout recorded in 7th phase

Bengal polls: 75.06% voter turnout recorded in 7th phase
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Kolkata: The seventh phase of elections spanned across 34 constituencies across five districts with 11,376 polling stations in the state ended peacefully on Monday with an overall voting percentage of 75.06 till 5 pm. Murshidabad, where nine constituencies witnessed polls, recorded the highest polling of 80.30 percent followed by South Dinajpur where 80.21 percent voting was registered in six Assembly seats.

The six constituencies in Malda had a voting percentage of 78.76 while West Burdwan's nine constituencies witnessed 70.34 percent polling. Kolkata South, in which four Assembly constituencies went for polls, recorded the lowest voter turnout of 59.91 percent.

Interestingly, during the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, Kolkata South had witnessed over 65 percent polling. "The surge in Covid cases in the city might have resulted in the low turnout but voting in the city is always much less than the rural areas," a senior EC official said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday cast her vote at a polling booth at Mitra Institution School in Bhowanipore at around 3.50 pm. On a wheelchair, she briefly paused before photojournalists while coming out amid shouts of "Didi, Didi", before boarding her car.

Trinamool Congress candidate from Rashbehari Debasish Kumar was prevented from entering polling booths on several occasions throughout the day.

A few incidents of scuffle were reported from the Asansol area, where TMC candidate Saayoni Ghosh claimed that BJP activists tried to jam booths in her constituency. The allegation was dubbed as baseless by BJP candidate Agnimitra Paul.

In the Jamuria constituency, Left Front candidate Aishe Ghosh alleged that her party agents were stopped from entering the booth by TMC workers, a charge denied by the ruling party.

There were 742 arrests made by the police during the elections with 12 arrests in specific cases and 11 for violation of Section 144. The rest of the arrests were all preventive.

Both Murshidabad and Malda had a previous history of violence and as per the Commission, there were 1,680 sensitive booths in Murshidabad and 1,120 in Malda. "Not a single bomb exploded anywhere in the state during Monday's election which was the most peaceful among the seven phases. The police and the Central forces have done excellent work," ADG (Law & Order) Jagmohan said.

As many as 57 bombs were recovered, including 22 in Murshidabad and 35 in Kolkata. Kolkata South had 380 sensitive booths.

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