81 pc polling in West Bengal

EC removes three presiding officers for 'favouring' TMC candidate

81 pc polling in West Bengal

The electoral turnout in West Bengal on Thursday showed an average polling rate of nearly 81 per cent in the six constituencies which drew voters in the second phase of elections to the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

The trend of high polling was revealed by 3 pm when nearly 70 per cent votes were cast in the six constituencies, sealing the fate of 78 candidates across the six constituencies of Raigunge, Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad in north Bengal. “On an average 69.61 per cent of the total 83 lakh voters have cast their votes in the first five hours of polling in the six constituencies,” state Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta told reporters in Kolkata on Thursday.

In Raigunge, 78.78 per cent polling was reported as against 79 per cent in 2009. At Balurghat, the percentage stood at 82.84, a significant drop from 86 per cent last time.

At Malda North and South, the percentage was 80.67 per cent and 80.16 per cent, respectively. Malda North saw a drop from last time’s 84 per cent. Malda South showed a slight rise from 79 per cent in 2009.

At Murshidabad, poll percentage stood at 82.24, showing a sharp drop from last time’s 88 per cent. At Jangipur, where the fate of President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit hangs in the balance, the percentage stood at 76.93, showing an almost 10 per cent drop, compared to last time’s 86 per cent.

Gupta told reporters that polling in all the six constituencies passed largely peacefully, barring a few stray incidents and complaints of clashes. The phase also saw the replacement of 28 EVMs during mock polling and later due to malfunctioning in a number of booths.

The Election Commission also removed three presiding officers at Sagardighi in Jangipur constituency for allegedly indulging Trinamool candidate Sheikh Nurul Islam and his followers and allowing them to come inside the polling premises.

The EC has initiated a case against Islam and his followers, besides security forces seizing a number of vehicles used by them, Gupta said. “We have not yet received any report of any other major incident regarding disruption of law and order or complaint of booth jamming or violation of the model code of conduct,” he added.

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