Bengal civic polls: 19.32 lakh voters to exercise franchise today

Bengal civic polls: 19.32 lakh voters to exercise franchise today

Kolkata: About 19.32 lakh voters will cast their vote in the four civic bodies on Saturday.

Bidhannagar, Asansol, Siliguri and Chandannagar municipal corporations go to polls on Saturday. The tenure of these civic bodies ended in 2020 but elections could not be held due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to State Election Commission (SEC) sources, the poll panel has decided to deploy 9,000 policemen to man in four locations.

The State Election Commission is leaving no stone unturned to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.

A high-level meeting was held at Nabanna to take stock of the situation on Friday. Chief Secretary H K Dwivedi, Home Secretary BP Gopalika, Director General of Police Manoj Malaviya and Kolkata Police Commissioner Vineet Goyal attended it.

It was decided that Gyanwant Singh, ADG CID and state STF will look after the law and order in the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation area while IG CID Anand Kumar will look after Salt Lake. Sunil Kumar Choudhary, IG Bankura Range will look after the law and order situation in Chandannagore. DP Singh, IG North Bengal range, will look after Siliguri while Sanjay Singh, ADG Western zone, has been deputed to look after Asansol.

Bidhannagar has 523 polling booths and Chandannagore has 173. Asansol and Siliguri have 1,182 and 502 booths respectively. The total number of booths will be 2,380. A total of 9,000 policemen will be deployed to maintain law and order. Of these, 500 cops will be deputed to conduct naka checkings. The police visited guest houses and hotels in the areas where elections will be held on Saturday. Vehicles passing through the areas are being checked and outsiders have not been allowed to stay in the areas. Two persons with arms were arrested in Lake Town on Thursday night during naka checking. Quick Response Teams and Heavy Radio Flying Squads will be kept ready to face any emergency. In addition to this, Sector Mobile Patrol vans will also be deployed. EFR and CID personnel conducted route march in different areas.

Partha Chatterjee, the secretary general of Trinamool Congress, urged people to exercise their franchise freely. He said every step has been taken to conduct the polls peacefully. Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee instructed party leaders and workers not to indulge in violence and stern action will be taken against those creating trouble. Of the four civic bodies, Asansol, Chandannagore and Bidhannagore are under Trinamool Congress while Siliguri Municipal Corporation was under the CPI(M).

In Siliguri, three heavyweights are eyeing a win in the civic body elections. Ashok Bhattacharya, the veteran CPI(M) leader, former Mayor and Urban Development minister is fighting against Gautam Deb, former Trinamool Congress minister and Shankar Ghosh, BJP MLA who joined the saffron brigade from CPI(M) in 2020.

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