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Khela hobe: Polling begins in Bengal, voters to decide fate of 191 candidates in 30 seats

Khela hobe: Polling begins in Bengal, voters to decide fate of 191 candidates in 30 seats
March 27
11:06 2021

KOLKATA: Polling for the first of the eight-phase assembly polls in West Bengal began at 7 am on Saturday with voters deciding the fate of 191 candidates in 30 constituencies.

All constituencies in Purulia, Jhargram and segments of Bankura, Purba Medinipur and Paschim Medinipur are going to decide the electoral fate of 191 candidates, including 21 women candidates in the fray. The polling will end at 6.30 pm.
In the first phase, a total of 73,80,942 electorates will cast their votes including 7,52,938 male voters, 36,27,949 female voters, 55 of the third gender and 11,767 service electors.

The Election Commission (EC) has made adequate arrangements and taken precautionary measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As many as 730 coys of central forces, including 92 for Bankura, 169 for Purba Medinipur, 139 for Paschim Medinipur, 186 for Purulia and 144 for Jhargram have been deployed for this phase.

Further, there are 10,288 Control Units, 10,288 Ballot Units and 10,288 voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPATs). The EC has also made arrangements for 2,560 reserved Control Units, 2,787 reserved Ballot Units and 3,492 reserved VVPATs.

As many as 1,23,393 electors are aged 80 years and above. Further, 40,408 electors are of persons with disabilities (PwD) category. The list also includes three overseas electors.

The Election Commission has set up 10,288 polling stations, of which 8,229 are the main and 2,059 are auxiliary. The Commission has appointed 21 general observers, nine expenditure observers and seven police observers. In East Midnapore district, there will be 509 vulnerable booths.

“We have deployed 169 companies. We are monitoring booths with Central Armed Police Forces and non-CPF (Central Police Forces) measures. Over 50 per cent of polling booths have webcasting facility and CCTV, videographer. Over 800 micro-observers have been appointed for phase 1,” said the District Election Officer.

The state is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with Trinamool Congress (TMC), Congress-Left alliance and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the fray.

Both the ruling TMC and BJP are seeking to outdo each other in poll promises and campaign rhetoric. While the BJP is striving to form its first government in the state, the Left-ISF-Congress alliance is also striving to spring a surprise.

Some notable names for the first phase of polling include Srikanto Mahato, Rajib Lochan Saren, June Malia and Uttam Barik from TMC, and Rabindranath Maity, Chandana Bauri and Rajib Kundu from BJP.

Congress has fielded five candidates for the first phase — Nepal Mahato from Baghmundi, Shiu Maiti from Bhagabanpur, Uttam Banerjee from Balarampur, Manas Kumar Karmahapatra from Egra and Partha Pratim Banerjee from Purulia.

In 2016, the TMC had won 27 out of 30 seats and the BJP was not a major player in the last polls. However, the party has gained in strength in the last five years and has emerged as the main challenger to the ruling party which has won two successive assembly polls.

The BJP won 18 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections against 22 won by the TMC. Congress had won two seats going to the polls in the first phase and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) had won one seat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and party chief JP Nadda campaigned ahead of the first phase. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has led the Trinamool campaign. She had earlier this month sustained “severe bone injuries” on her left foot. She was seen at several rallies on a wheelchair and a cast on her leg.

The final round of elections to the 294-member assembly will take place on April 29. The counting of votes will be held on May 2. (ANI) 




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