Nearly 80 % turnout, Nadia tops at 81.62 %
In the third phase 1.37 crore people exercised their franchise. There were 16, 461 polling stations of which 6,412 were designated critical. There were 38 general observers and 74,666 polling personnel. Around 750 companies of Central Force personnel were also deployed.
The Election Commission demolished the claim of CPI(M) that the deceased Tahirul Mondol was their polling agent and was killed after Trinamool Congress supporters fired at him from close range. The incident took place 500 m away from the polling station in Notunpara area. The ADG (law and order), Anuj Sharma said Mondol was not a polling agent and was a CPI(M) supporter. The attackers used sharp weapons and stabbed him repeatedly to death. He said an FIR was lodged against 20 people and no arrests have been made so far in this connection.
Sunil Gupta, CEO said till 5 pm the overall polling stood at 79.22%. Nadia recorded the highest polling percentage of 81.62 per cent. This was followed by Murshidabad at 79.29 per cent, Burdwan 78.26 per cent and Kolkata North 57.05 per cent.
Election was held in 62 constituencies on Thursday. There are 22 seats in Murshidabad, 17 in Nadia, 16 in Burdwan and 7 in Kolkata North. The Commission received 2777 complaints on Thursday. Of these 2,322 complaints were disposed off within the stipulated time. Most of the complaints were related to booth capturing, intimidation of voters and polling agents being driven out. The EC took prompt action. Seven presiding officers were replaced during the poll. Of these five were in Burdwan and two in Murshidabad.
In Kolkata, 63 persons were arrested including three women and in three districts combined 169 people were arrested. Trinamool Congress supporter Anwar Khan was arrested from North Kolkata. A booth level officer Rabindranath Ghosh who was deployed in Mangalkot died of heat stroke.
The Commission ruled out the possibility of any re-poll. Congress had demanded re-poll in 10 booths in Domkol. Fifty two EVM machines were replaced after they developed snags.
The Commission pulled out all stops to ensure free and fair election. They were CCTVs, digital cameras and webcasting and videography. Not a single case of booth jamming or intimidation of voters inside the polling stations was reported.
Political experts who analysed the voting percentage said that Trinamool could do well in Murshidabad. In four seats it had bright chances. These are Domkol, Hariharpara, Baharampur town and Sagardighi. They said that the alliance had not worked in the fiefdom of Adhir Chowdhury. In the quadrangular fights, the CPI(M) had backed Congress candidates against RSP and this has not gone down well with the people. The alliance did not work at the grassroots level.
They said that in North Kolkata, Trinamool Congress was likely to retain all the seven seats.