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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Bengal casts 33 pc votes in 4 hrs across three LS seats

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Kolkata: An estimated 33 per cent of 5.6 million electorate exercised their franchise in the first four hours till 11 AM in the three Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal — Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri.

While Cooch Behar accounted for 34 per cent polling, Alipurduar for 32 per cent and Jalpaiguri for 35 per cent.

Polling has been by and large peaceful so far with long queues seen outside many polling stations.

A total of 27,63,506 women are expected to exercise their constitutional rights to elect their representatives from among 30 odd contestants in some 5814 booths until 5 pm amid Sandeshkhali incident ripe in voters’ mind.

About 250 companies of armed central forces were deployed, and some 10,000 state police personnel have been posted to ensure peaceful and fair polling.

Thirteen extra CAPF companies were put on reserve to be used in case of any exigency.

Poll officials and election observers are monitoring the voting process in the field, with no major incidents reported so far.

The Election Commission has restricted Bengal minister Udayan Guha to his Dinhata segment after Cooch Behar’s BJP contestant Nisith Pramanik appealed to the poll panel against his alleged intimidation. Guha was seen at the Dinhata police station this morning to complain about an alleged attack on the TMC block president at Jenkins High School in Dinhata.

Though the contest is said to be multi-cornered, the real fight is restricted between the state-ruling Trinamool Congress and the main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party. The latter won all three seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.

The Left Front and Congress are among other political parties, in the run up. The majority of the candidates are Independents.

The contest is expected to be between Union Minister Pramanik and TMC’s Jagadish Chandra Barma Basunia in the Cooch Behar seat, in Alipurduar between Monoj Tigga (BJP) and TMC’s Prakash Chik Baraik, and in Jalpaiguri between Jayanta Kumar Roy of BJP and Nirmal Chandra Roy from the ruling party.

The voting process commenced at 7 AM under a tight security arrangement.

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