Arrangements in place, EC all set for 2nd phase polls


As the second phase of polling is all set to take place on Thursday covering 69 Assembly seats both in West Bengal and Assam, the Election Commission along with state administration was ensuring all arrangements in place to conduct a peaceful election.

Dispatching of polling parties has begun as polling will take place in 30 Assembly constituencies in West Bengal and 39 in Assam with several polling teams moving ahead braving difficult terrains, blocked roads and rivers to reach specific booths.

The Election Commission said that it has completed all preparations for voting, and that its all-polling parties will reach polling stations by this evening.

“Not even difficult terrain, heavy rain and blocked roads can stop our dedicated officials, who are involved in election duties…for Phase II Polls tomorrow,” the EC said as its poll parties headed polling booths through difficult terrains on way in Assam and West Bengal

All the booths where polling will be held in the second phase will be put under proper security radar as most of the areas are very sensitive, and the borders of the state adjoining other states are being closely monitored, an EC official said.

Vehicles entering the borders of the district and cities are being checked by security personnel in the presence of magistrates.

Nearly 700 Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) companies have been almost deployed in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, South 24 Parganas and Bankura districts. However, over 500 CAPFs are also being deployed in Assam to ensure a completely peaceful and fearless environment for polling.

The high-profile Nandigram constituency, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is pitted against her one-time loyalist-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari of BJP, will vote in the second phase.

Banerjee is seeking a third term in office from Nandigram Assembly constituency of Purbo Midnipur district. For her, and the BJP, the battle for Nandigram is a prestige fight because it was the 2007 agitation against land acquisition in the region which catapulted the West Bengal Chief Minister to the centre stage of politics in the state, paving the way for the Trinamool’s victory in the 2011 Assembly polls that ended 34 years of Left Front rule.

A total of 171 candidates are in the fray for the second phase polls in West Bengal’s 30 seats where 75,94,549 voters will exercise their franchise.

In Assam, the second phase of state elections will decide the fate of 345 candidates in 39 seats with over 73 lakh voters set to cast their ballots.

Most of the seats in the second phase in Assam are likely to see a straight fight between the NDA and Congress-led Mahajoth. The BJP has fielded 34 candidates, Congress has 28, Assam Jatiya Parishad 19, AIUDF seven, AGP six and the BPF has four candidates in the fray.

For the ruling BJP, ministers Parimal Suklabaidya, Bhabesh Kalita, Pijush Hazarika and sitting MLA Numal Momin would seek re-election. Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, Sum Ronghang, Siddique Ahmed from the Congress would try their political luck. Senior BPF leader and minister Rihon Daimary is also in the fray from the Udalguri seat.

Suzam Uddin Lashkar, Siraj Uddin Ajmal are in the contest from the AIUDF. However, this election would not witness participation of former Chief Minister and Asom Gana Parishad leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta who represented the Bahrampur seat for the last 35 years.