Assembly elections: Over 79 percent voter turnout in 3rd phase of polling in West Bengal; one dead in violence

Amid incidents of violence that left one person dead and several others injured, West Bengal saw over 79 percent votes cast in 62 constituencies on Thursday in phase three of the Assembly elections.  

Assembly elections: Over 79 percent voter turnout in 3rd phase of polling in West Bengal; one dead in violence
An paramilitary soldier checks identity of voters outside a polling booth during the third phase of voting in West Bengal state Assembly elections in Kolkata.

Kolkata: Amid incidents of violence that left one person dead and several others injured, West Bengal saw over 79 percent votes cast in 62 constituencies on Thursday in phase three of the Assembly elections.  

The Election Commission said that 79.22 per cent voter turnout was recorded in today's polls.

However, the EC added that the turnout could be more as the figures were based on text messages sent by polling officials from the field till 5 pm.

Deputy Election Commission in charge of West Bengal Sandeep Saxena said while one person was found murdered near a polling station, nine others were injured in clashes between political rivals during which crude bombs were used.

When asked whether the incidents of violence were the highest in this phase, he said the Commission "cannot compare" the number of incidents in each phase, as per PTI.

The body of a 35-year-old CPI(M) supporter, identified as Tahidur Islam, was found about 500 metres away from the polling booth at Shibapara area of Domkal assembly seat in Murshidabad district.

In Kolkata, Trinamool leader Anwar Khan was arrested following instructions from Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta after he was shown on TV channels abusing the poll panel while talking to a party worker over phone.

In Burdwan's Ketugram constituency, four persons were injured in separate incidents.

A CPI(M) worker's ear was slashed and the leg of another party supporter fractured in a scuffle in front of a booth number 78. Two other CPI(M) workers were injured at booth number 48 when bombs were reportedly hurled at them.

District Election Officer Soumitra Mohan said four persons have been arrested in this connection.

Complaints of voter intimidation and scuffles between rival political activists were also received from several booths in Kolkata, including Beliaghta and Entally.

Union Minister Babul Supriyo was seen chasing a "drunkard" in a lane of north Kolkata's Jorasanko constituency and handing him over to the police. Supriyo is a voter of the constituency.

Accusing the ruling Trinamool of indulging in "massive rigging" and booth capturing in Domkal, the alliance partners demanded repoll in 15 polling booths.

Left Front spearhead CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said there were disturbances in six-seven constituencies.

"We think there should be repoll in 15 polling booths of Domkal constituency," said Mishra, whose demand was seconded by state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, as per IANS.

However, Mishra expressed overall satisfaction over the role of the Election Commission.

Over 1.37 crore (1,37,42,000) voters were eligible to elect their legislators across 16,461 polling stations, including 10 auxiliary booths, from among 418 candidates, including 34 women.

The ruling Trinamool and the Bharatiya Janata Party are contesting all 62 constituencies in the third phase.

The Left Front-Congress alliance is in fray for all the 62 constituencies. But the Congress nominees are also clashing with those from the Left Front in 11 seats -- 10 in Murshidabad and one in Nadia.

Earlier voters in 105 of the state's total 294 assembly constituencies exercised their right to franchise on April 4, 11 and 17 in the first two phases.

Polling in the fourth, fifth and sixth phases will be held on April 25, 30 and May 5 for 49, 53 and 25 constituencies respectively.

(With Agency inputs)

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