Kolkata | Over 61 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 1 PM in the two districts of East Midnapore and Coochbehar in the sixth and last phase of West Bengal assembly elections today. While East Midnapore district recorded 63.61 per cent polling, 58.81 per cent votes were cast in Cooch Behar.
The overall average till 1 PM was 61.88 per cent, EC sources said. For the first time since Independence, 9,776 residents of border enclaves in Cooch Behar are exercising their franchise, made possible by the formal inclusion of the enclaves in Indian territory last year. Among them was 103-year-old Asgar Ali who came along with family members of three generations to cast ballots for the first time.
Although Election Commission officials were worried about the possibility of rainfall in Cooch Behar, there was no rain till noon today. An electorate of over 58 lakh is eligible to cast ballots at 6,774 polling stations till 6 PM in 25 constituencies. In all 170 candidates, including 18 women, are in the fray in this phase.
The poll panel has deployed 361 companies of central forces who are assisted by a contingent of 12,000 state police personnel. Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC have been promulgated today to curb any unlawful assembly. Members of Trinamool Congress has lodged a complaint against Congress activists for assembling with arms near booth number 236 and jamming booth numbers 14, 107 and 249 of Moyna constituency in East Midnapore district.
Security personnel arrested five persons on the charge of giving food to voters near booth no 231 at Gobra in Moyna constituency. Police said two groups belonging to TMC and Congress were allegedly distributing food among voters. Securitymen chased them and most of them fled but the five were caught.
CPI(M) claimed that it could not put up polling agents in 52 booths in Nandigram to which TMC MP Suvendu Adhikari replied, We cannot be blamed for that. Complaints have been made by TMC and CPI(M) from Natabari constituency in Coochbehar district. TMC candidate and the party’s district president Rabindranath Ghosh also alleged high-handedness by central forces at Deocharai.
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