Bengal set for first phase as 30 seats go to polls
Kolkata: The stage is all set. The first phase of Assembly polls in Bengal will be held on Saturday with 30 Assembly constituencies (AC) spread across five districts going to the polls. As many as 191 candidates from different political parties are in the fray during the first phase of polls that cover parts of East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Bankura and the whole of Purulia and Jhargram districts. Out of them, 21 candidates are female.
The total number of electors in these constituencies is 7380942 with 3752938 males and 3627949 female voters. The total number of polling stations is 10288 that include 8229 main and 2059 auxiliary booths. The number of 80 plus voters is 123393 while 40048 are PWD (Persons with Disabilities) voters. The total number of service electors is 11767. There are 55 third gender voters while the number of overseas voters is only 3.
"The auxiliary booths have been set up to abide by Covid norms in the voting process as per guidelines of the Commission that mandates that there should not be more than 1,000 voters in a particular booth," a senior official of the state CEO (Chief Electoral Officer) office said.
The 4 ACs in Bankura — Saltora (SC), Chhatna, Ranibandh (ST) and Raipur (ST) have 950482 electors, 7 ACs in East Midnapore — covering Patashpur, Kanthi Uttar, Bhagabanpur, Khejuri (SC), Kanthi Dakshin, Ramnagar and Egra have 1757755 voters, 6 ACs in West Midnapore comprising Keshiary (ST), Kharagpur, Garbeta, Salboni, Medinipur and Dantan have 1486651 voters, 9 ACs in Purulia comprising Bandwan (ST), Balarampur, Baghmundi, Joypur, Purulia, Manbazar (ST), Kashipur, Para (SC), Raghunathpur (SC) have 2274050 voters while 4 ACs in Jhargram covering Nayagram (ST), Gopiballavpur, Jhargram and Binpur (ST) have 912004 voters.
The Election Commission has deployed 20 General Observers, nine Expenditure Observers and seven Police Observers for the first phase of polls. There will be webcasting facilities in 55398 booths. Voting will be held amid a huge deployment of Central forces. Purulia will have the highest concentration of forces with 184 companies to be deployed in 3127 booths spread over 2025 premises. There will be 169 companies for 2437 booths spread over 1686 premises in East Midnapore, 139 companies for 2089 booths spread over 1363 premises in West Midnapore while Jhargram with 1307 polling stations will have 140 companies of Central forces and Bankura with 1328 booths spread over 950 premises will have the least deployment of only 92 companies. Jhargram has been earmarked as an LWE (Left Wing Extremism) district by the Commission.
The Central forces will be used not only for booth management but will also accompany the Quick Response Teams. There will be around 22092 state forces in the first phase of the election that includes 173 Inspectors, 2661 Sub-Inspectors or Assistant Sub-Inspectors, 4012 armed Constables, 13970 unarmed Constables and 1276 lady Constables.
"The Central forces will be mainly deployed in and around the booths and the state force will be used for the maintenance of law and order. The Constables will be used for queue management," the EC official said.