Massive turnout in last phase of West Bengal polls
The Opposition parties had moved the ECI alleging that law and order situation had deteriorated in West Bengal and demanded 900 companies of Central Forces should be sent to conduct free and fair poll. The ECI had obliged them and conducted election in six phases. However, the allegations made by the Opposition were found to be baseless as election was held peacefully throughout the state.
During the seven days of six phase election only one person died in Murshidabad on April 21. He was hacked to death outside the polling station. On Thursday over 58 lakh voters exchanged their franchise. A total of 7,820 EVMs were used out of which 27 were replaced during mock poll after they developed a snag. Ten more had to be replaced during poll.
In two districts, East Midnapore and Cooch Behar where polling was held in 25 constituencies, the overall turnout was above 84.24 per cent. Cooch Behar recorded 82.71 per cent turnout till 5 pm while East Midnapore recorded 85.09 per cent turnout during this period. In the enclaves where the people voted for the first time in their lives, the polling percentage was over 80. Great enthusiasm was observed among the voters of the enclaves. Long queues were seen outside the polling stations, Chief Electoral Officer, Sunil Gupta said. The EC had launched an intense campaign to create awareness among the enclave dwellers. They were given training on how to use the EVM.
He said the Election Commission had received 1,526 complaints out of which 1,486 were disposed of and the remaining 40 were looked into. In two polling booths, one in Dinhata and the other one in Natabari, the presiding officers were replaced. While in Dinhata (polling booth number 123), Umesh Roy, presiding officer was replaced for allowing Udayan Guha, TMC candidate to go near the EVM when others were casting vote. The other one, Lakshmikant Burman was replaced after he felt sick.
The SDO Toofanganj has lodged an FIR against Rabindranath Ghosh, TMC candidate from Natabari for entering the polling station and threatening the presiding officer. Another FIR was lodged against Udayan Guha, TMC candidate from Dinhata. There were 48 general observers, six expenditure observers and three police observers.
Anuj Sharma, ADG law and order said that 30 people were arrested out of which 28 were from East Midnapore and two from Cooch Behar. Gupta said the Central Force personnel would start leaving for their destination from Friday. Only 78 companies would be kept to guard the strong rooms.
The election in West Bengal began on April 4 with Jangalmahal. It was subsequently held on April 11, 17, 21, 25, 30 and May 5.