80% Voting In 2nd Phase Of West Bengal Elections

The second phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections concluded with an estimated 80.43 per cent voter turnout on Thursday.

In phase-II, a total of 30 Assembly constituencies from the districts of South 24 Parganas, Bankura, Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur went to polls to decide on the electoral fate of 171 candidates, including 19 women.
Polling began at 7 am and ended at 6.30 pm.

Addressing media persons, Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Aftab said, “In the second phase, 80.43 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 5 pm. Apart from a few stray incidents, the polling was peaceful. Among the major incidents, Uttam Doloi, who was sharply attacked in Keshpur succumbed to injuries. Eight people were arrested in connection with the case.”

“In another incident, Uday Shankar Dubey in Nandigram has died by hanging himself as per preliminary reports. The investigation is underway. Further, a candidate in Keshpur sustained minor injuries. 20 persons have been arrested including six men and 14 women,” he added.

Asked about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s complaint against poll disruption in Nandigram, Aftab said, “Chief Minister was seeking to visit a few polling stations around 1.30 pm. There was some constant shouting made by the two groups at a booth. Security was further enhanced and senior police officials visited the booth. Things normalised after that.”

In the second phase of polling, the total number of electors were 76,07,667. Among them, 38,93,655 were men, 37,13,926 women and 86 were of the third gender. There were 13,118 service electors and 13 overseas electors. There were a total of 29,679 postal ballot absentee voters.

As many 44,291 polling personnel were deputed for the second phase of polling. There were 10,620 polling stations and 6,792 polling station locations in the second phase of polling. Among them, 5,535 booths were webcasted and 3,049 booths were laced with CCTV.

Among 171 candidates, two were undoubtedly the most prominent figures, that is, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her former ministerial colleague Suvendu Adhikari, who had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in December last year.

Nandigram has experienced the most high-profile contest with Banerjee and Adhikari taking on each other. The stakes are high with Adhikari pledging that he would quit politics if he does not defeat Mamata by 50,000 votes in Nandigram.

The Left Front fielded Minakshi Mukherjee, the state president of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) from Nandigram against Banerjee and Adhikari.

Apart from Nandigram, another high-profile seat that witnessed polling in this phase is the Debra constituency. BJP fielded former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh against TMC’s Humayun Kabir, an ex-IPS officer.

Notably, Ghosh once happened to be close to Mamata Banerjee. She joined the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Kabir, on the other hand, joined TMC ahead of this Assembly polls.

Many popular faces from the entertainment industry contested in the second phase of polls, with actors Soham Chakraborty and Sayantika Banerjee representing TMC and standing from Chandipur and Bankura respectively while actor Hiranmoy Chattopadhyay from BJP contested from Kharagpur Sadar constituency in Paschim Medinipur.

In Tamluk, TMC fielded Soumen Mahapatra and was pitted against BJP’s Harekrishna Bera and CPI’s Goutam Panda. In the Moyna constituency in Purba Medinipur, BJP fielded cricketer Ashok Dinda against TMC’s Sangram Kumar Dolui and Congress’ Manik Bhownik.

In Haldia, sitting MLA Tapasi Mondal who had been earlier with CPI(M)was now the BJP’s candidate against TMC’s Swapan Naskaran and CPI(M)’s Manika Kar Paik.

Several minor incidents of violence reported during the second phase of polling today.

The TMC complained to the poll body that it had received a report from its representatives about the BJP “jamming” eight booths in the Moyna constituency and said, “a mob of BJP workers has entered the booth”. The complaint said that BJP workers “are attempting to take control of EVM and are rigging the booth”.

On the other hand, the BJP alleged that a women polling agent of the party at booth number 173 in Keshpur was beaten by TMC workers. She was rushed to the hospital after the attack. Further, the BJP candidate from Keshpur Pritish Ranjan Kuar was allegedly attacked by TMC workers.

Speaking to ANI, Kuar said, “I was going to a booth. There was a QRT of Police in front of our car and behind them was local media. When we reached there, ‘Trinamool gundas’ started hitting us with bricks and lathis. My security took us to the car.”

“There were seven people in our car and all were attacked. Security was there but they were helpless. We were crying for our lives. We left the place and entered a house where women saved us and took care of us,” added the BJP candidate.

There was a ruckus near a polling booth in Debra when BJP candidate Bharati Ghosh came to visit.

The first phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections concluded on March 27 with an estimated 79.79 per cent voter turnout and covered 30 seats from Purulia, Jhargram, Bankura, Purba and Paschim Medinipur.

The polling for 31 seats in the third phase of the 294-member state Assembly will be held on April 6. Elections for 44 seats will be held in the fourth phase on April 10. Further, in the fifth phase on April 17, 45 seats will go to the polls.

The sixth phase is scheduled for April 22 when elections for 43 seats will be done. In the seventh phase on April 26, polling will be held for 36 seats. Finally, the eighth phase is scheduled for April 29 when 35 seats will go for polling. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)

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