Voting percentage shoots up in 6th phase
Kolkata: The people of the state braved the scorching heat and queued up to exercise their franchise on Sunday, making the Commission boast about the voting percentage. Chief Electoral Officer, Bengal Ariz Aftab stated that apart from some sporadic incidents of trouble in some places, overall voting was peaceful and fair.
"The percentage of voting in the state in the sixth phase has been the highest in the country. The overall percentage of vote in Bengal till 5 pm was 79.93. This will rise further in the last one hour, with voting to take place till 6 pm," Aftab said in the post-poll press conference.
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said after the election schedule was announced that people will face difficulty in voting amidst the terrible heat. The temperature was over 40 degree Celsius in most districts that went to polls.
Voting was held in eight parliamentary constituencies in the state, namely Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram (ST), Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur (SC).
As per figures of the Commission, Tamluk recorded the highest voting percentage at 82.99, followed by Bishnupur at 81.90, Jhargram at 81.68, Ghatal at 80.35, Kanthi at 80.06 , Purulia at 78.64, Midnapore at 78.17 and Bankura at 75.64.
ADG (Law & Order) Siddh Nath Gupta told reporters that Central Force personnel deployed for the elections had to open fire at five places in the state that resulted in bullet injuries to three persons.
Firing was reported from Bhagabanpur in Sabang, Dogachia in Ghatal, Moyna in East Midnapore, Gopiballavpur in Jhargram and Kalabagan under Bishnupur parliamentary constituency.
"We are yet to receive the reports of these three incidents, following which the details of injured people would be known," Gupta said.
He added that 26 people were injured in incidents of clashes, of which three were bullet injuries. Sixteen people were arrested on specific cases, while 15 vehicles were damaged and five FIRs were lodged.
The Election Commission has initiated FIRs against Bharati Ghosh and her associates for incidents of videographing in booth and firing.
An FIR was also lodged against Dilip Ghosh, the state president of the saffron party, for a clash with TMC supporters in front of a booth where he allegedly used instigating language.
The presiding officer of booth numbers 206 and 207 in Keshpur was removed following negligence. It was reported that Bharati Ghosh went into a polling booth taking armed Central security guards with her. This is in violation of an EC norm that none should step within 100 metres of a booth with arms.
There were three incidents of EVM damage and malfunctioning reported from Saltora in Bankura, Urdhamma in East Midnapore and Khandaghosh in Bishnupur. In Bishnupur and East Midanpore, matters were sorted out soon.
"But the EVM break in Saltora somewhat hampered the voting process. We have sent reports to the Election Commission of India and there may be repoll in the Saltora booth," an official in the CEO's office said.
Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain, who will reach Kolkata on Sunday night, spoke to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ariz Aftab from Delhi and took stock of the voting in the state. Jain will hold a series of meetings with senior officials and political representatives in the city on Monday.