Bengal set for third phase polls today
Kolkata: The stage is set for the third phase of elections on Tuesday with 31 Assembly constituencies (AC) spread across three districts going for polls. About 205 candidates, including 13 women from different political parties, are in the fray during the third phase that covers parts of South 24-Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly.
Describing all 31 West Bengal Assembly constituencies where polls are set to be held on Tuesday as 'sensitive', the Election Commission of India (ECI) Monday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC. The order prohibits public gatherings in the constituencies spread across three districts.
Interestingly, during the Lok Sabha polls in these 31 ACs Trinamool Congress (TMC) had secured a lead in 29 seats with only two in Hooghly — Pursurah and Goghat (SC) — going in BJP's favour.
About 16 ACs in South 24-Parganas — Basanti (SC), Kultali (SC), Kulpi, Raidighi, Mandirbazar (SC), Jaynagar (SC), Baruipur Purba (SC), Canning Paschim (SC), Canning Purba, Baruipur Paschim, Magrahat Purba (SC), Magrahat Paschim, Diamond Harbour, Falta, Satgachia, and Bishnupur (SC), 7 ACs in Howrah — Uluberia Uttar (SC), Uluberia Dakshin, Shyampur, Bagnan, Amta, Udaynarayanpur and Jagatballavpur, and 8 ACs in Hooghly — Jangipara, Haripal, Dhanekhali (SC), Tarakeshwar, Pursurah, Arambag (SC), Goghat (SC) and Khanakul are going for polls on Tuesday.
The total number of electors in these constituencies are 78,56,474 that includes 4,049 service voters with 39,97,218 male electors and 38,59,013 women voters. The total number of polling stations are 1,0871 that includes 8,480 main and 2,391 auxiliary booths. The number of 80 plus voters are 126,177 while 64,083 are PWD (Persons with Disabilities) voters. The total number of third gender voters are 243 while overseas voters are only 2.
"The auxiliary booths have been set up to abide by the 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 Election Commission has deployed 22 General Observers, nine Expenditure Observers and seven Police Observers for the third phase of polls. There will be webcasting facilities in 5,507 booths.
The Commission has deployed 618 companies of the Central forces.
South 24-Parganas divided into three police districts, including Baruipur, Diamond Harbour and the Sunderbans, has the highest deployment with 396 companies of Central paramilitary forces for its 5,544 booths with a concentration of approximately 5.1 personnel per booth. According to sources in the Commission, of the 396 companies 151 will be deployed in Baruipur PD, 113 companies in Diamond Harbour and another 132 companies have been commissioned for the Sunderban PD. 89 companies of the Central forces are already stationed in South 24-Parganas that pushes up the number of forces to 707 companies — the highest deployment in this election so far.
There will be 88 companies for 8 Assembly constituencies in Hooghly and 133 for 7 constituencies in Howrah with a concentration of 4.1 personnel per booth in the 5,120 booths in these two districts.
The Central forces will be used not only for booth management but forces will also accompany the Quick Response Teams.
"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 remarked.