West Bengal records 80 pc voter turnout

West Bengal records 80 pc voter turnout

The fifth and final phase of polling ended in West Bengal on Monday, registering 80 per cent turnout when the polls closed by 6 pm. The numbers are three per cent less than 2009 elections.

Polling was largely peaceful, except for stray violent incidents across south Bengal in which 12 people were arrested and 13 injured. 

Polling for this phase covered 17 constituencies, including the two seats in the capital city, Kolkata North and Kolkata South, Dumdum and Jadavpur in the city’s northern and southern suburbs, besides Baharampur in north Bengal, where  minister of state for railways is contesting. In all, this phase would decide the fate of 188 candidates.

At Kolkata North, sitting Trinamool MP Sudip Bandopadhyay is in a tough four-cornered battle with BJP state president Rahul Sinha, CPM’s Rupa Bagchi and Somen Mitra of the Congress, while Trinamool candidate and Harvard professor Sugato Basu is fighting former CPM MP Sujan Chakraborty in Kolkata South.

Elsewhere, polling took place at Barasat where the BJP has fielded magician P C Sorcar Junior, and, at Ghatal, Bengali actor Dev is seeking election to the Lok Sabha in his real name Dipak Adhikari.

Other seats to go to polls on the last leg of the elections were Krishnanagar, where sitting Trinamool MP Tapas Pal is facing a stiff fight from former BJP MP Satyabrata Mookherjee and CPM’s Dr Santanu Jha, Diamond Harbour, where Trinamool has fielded chief Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, and Barrackpore, which is witnessing a fight between former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi of Trinamool and Subhasini Ali of the CPM.

At the close of polls, Kolkata North registered 60.09 per cent votes, Kolkata South 65.9 per cent, Jadavpur 73.5 per cent, Dumdum 73.72 per cent, Barasat 79.9 per cent, Baharampur 77.01 per cent, Krishnanagar 81.4 per cent, Diamond Harbour 76.5 per cent, Barrackpore 72.7 per cent and Ghatal 81.3 per cent.

Mathurapur recorded 78.2 per cent votes, while Joynagar 78.15 per cent, Basirhat 80.14 per cent, Ranaghat 81.25 per cent, Bongaon 81.85 per cent, Tamluk 85.7 per cent and Kanthi 82.7 per cent.

“An estimated 67.34 per cent of the total 2,55,75,744 voters cast their votes till 3:00 PM,” the EC officials said.

On Monday afternoon, state chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta told reporters that elections were peaceful except for stray incidents.

At Haroa in North 24 Parganas district coming under the Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency, thirteen people were  injured in a clash between the CPM and Trinamool activists. The Left alleged that Trinamool activists had opened fire and injuring four.

However the district superintendent of police, who refuted the allegations of firing, said 13 persons have been detained.

The CPM also accused Trinamool of booth jamming at some parts of Jadavpur and Joynagar constituencies but Trinamool spokesman and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien refuted the allegations as baseless.

Left demand re-poll

Meanwhile, the Left parties said on Monday that a countrywide protest would be held on Wednesday to demand a re-poll in over a thousand polling booths across West Bengal.
“It is shocking that the Election Commission has been unable to intervene effectively during this round of polling, even though there was enough forewarning about what was to come, after the earlier two phases of polling,” said the Left parties in a statement.
The Left is demanding a re-poll in more than a thousand polling booths coming under 17 Lok Sabha constituencies.

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