Millennium Post

Lok Sabha elections 2019: First phase kicks off in Bengal

Kolkata: The first phase of Lok Sabha Polls 2019 is all set to be conducted in the Cooch Behar (SC) and Alipurduar (ST) constituencies, amidst tight security on Thursday.

The total number of electors in Cooch Behar is 18,10,660 with 16,43,616 in Alipurduar, taking the total number to 34,54,276. There are 29 third gender electors in the two constituencies.

Altogether 18 candidates including 2 women are fighting in the first phase of the elections in the state. Cooch Behar has 11 candidates contesting the elections, whereas in Alipurduar 7 candidates are in the fray. There are 3,844 polling stations in the two constituencies, with 2,010 in Cooch Behar and 1,834 in Alipurduar.

According to Election Commission officials, there will be Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in all the polling stations of the two constituencies, along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

The Election Commission has so far seized 33 guns and ammunitions from both the constituencies, since the notification of the elections. Around 1,28,260.9 litres of liquor has also been seized.

The total number of micro observers who will be deployed in both the constituencies remains at 790, out of which 350 are in Cooch Behar and 440 in Alipurduar. As many as 374 video cameras have been set up, with 228 in Cooch Behar and 146 in Alipurduar.

In addition to this, there will be 180 offline CCTV cameras installed at various poll premises in Alipurduar. Webcasting facilities would be available in 533 polling stations, of which 279 are in Cooch Behar and 254 in Alipurduar.

According to sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), there may be a total deployment of 83 companies of Central Forces.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Basu said that if any polling person is killed on the poll day, his/her family members would be given a compensation of Rs 10 lakh by the Election Commission of India (ECI). In case someone is critically injured, there will be a compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

Out of the 2,010 polling Stations in Cooch Behar, around 1,153 booths will be manned by Central Force jawans, while the rest will be managed by the state armed force. Meanwhile, out of the 1,834 polling stations in Alipurduar, 814 will be guarded by Central Force jawans, with the remaining being manned by the state armed force.

Adequate security arrangements are in place in both the constituencies. All the sensitive polling stations will be guarded by Central Force jawans, a senior election official said. Around 24 Central Force jawans and 30 state armed police personnel will be deployed for security of the strong rooms.

Trinamool Congress has fielded Paresh Adhikary in Cooch Behar against Nitish Pramanick of BJP and Govinda Roy of RSP. Congress has nominated Priya Roychowdhury. In Alipurduar, Trinamool Congress has nominated Dasarath Tirkey, against John barla of BJP, Mili Oraon of Left front and Mohanlal Basumata of Congress.

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