17.95% polling recorded in first 3 hrs in Bengal

Heavy polling was recorded in the first three hours in the seventh phase of Bengal Assembly elections where people of 34 constituencies across five districts are out to exercise their franchise. According to the initial data released by the Election Commission, the state recorded a voter turnout of 17.95 per cent with Murshidabad district recording the highest polling of 19.53 per cent.

According to the data, South Kolkata where polling is being held in 4 constituencies, recorded the lowest of 13.07 per cent. Malda with 6 constituencies recorded a polling of 18.85 per cent followed by South Dinajpur where 18.77 per cent polling was recorded from the 6 constituencies and the 9 constituencies of West Burdwan recorded a polling of 17.24 per cent.

As far as individual constituencies are concerned, Gazole in Malda district recorded the highest polling of 20.56 per cent and Pandaveshwar in West Burdwan recorded the lowest turnout of only 11 per cent.

However, there were some small incidents reported in the first three hours of polling though overall the polling process remained peaceful. The first incident was reported at 9.50 a.m. in Rashbehari constituency in South Kolkata where Trinamool Congress candidate Debashis Kumar alleged that he was not allowed to enter the booth by the central forces. At 10.03 a.m. BJP candidate from Raninagar Masuhara Khatun alleged attack on her car by TMC activists. In both the cases administration reacted promptly and took the situation under control swiftly.

The total number of electors including service voters in these constituencies are 81,96,242 with 42,00,447 male electors and 39,88,239 female voters. The total number of polling booths are 11,376 that include 8,634 main and 2,742 auxiliary booths. The number of 80 plus voters are 1,01,069 while 50,919 are PWD (Persons with Disabilities) voters. The total number of service electors are 7,335, third gender voters are 221 while overseas voters are 33.

Though primarily 36 assembly constituencies were scheduled for the election but it was reduced to 34 after the death of two Sanjukta Morcha candidates of Samsergunj and Jangipur assembly constituencies in Murshidabad, the elections were deferred to May 16.

The Election Commission has deployed 26 general observers, 9 expenditure observers and 6 police observers for the 7th phase of polls. There will be webcasting facilities in 50 per cent of the booths and micro-observers will be deployed in 20 per cent of the booths.

Of the total 11,376 booths, 5,028 are considered highly sensitive. According to the Election Commission data, Murshidabad with 1,680 sensitive booths has the highest number of sensitive booths followed by West Burdwan that has 1,428 sensitive booths. Apart from that Malda and South Dinajpur have 1,120 and 420 sensitive booths respectively. The four constituencies of Kolkata have 380 sensitive booths.

The Commission has deployed 653 companies of central forces for the seventh phase of assembly elections with more concentration of forces in the bordering districts- Malda, South Dinajpur and Murshidabad. Murshidabad will have the highest allocation of 204 companies, Malda will have 122 companies while South Dinajpur will have 110 companies. The two non-bordering districts West Burdwan will have 154 companies while south Kolkata will have 63 companies.