The sixth phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal took place amid tight security, and a surge of COVID cases on Thursday, 22 April.
As per the Election Commission data, a 17.19 percent voter turnout was recorded till 9:30 am, which increased to 37.27 percent by 11 am. At 5 pm, the voter turnout stood at 79.09 percent. The sixth phase recorded a voter turnout of 79.11 percent.
Polling for 43 constituencies in four districts was conducted wherein 10,409,948 voters will decide the fate of 306 candidates, including 27 women.
Of the 43 constituencies, 17 are in the North 24 Parganas district, eight in Purba Bardhaman and nine in Nadia and Uttar Dinajpur each.
EC Bans Road Shows and Vehicle Rallies
The Election Commission (EC) of India, on Thursday, also released an order imposing stricter curbs for the remaining phases, in view of the COVID crisis in the country. The order came hours after the Calcutta High Court had asked the EC to take action amid the horrific surge in COVID-19 cases.
Road shows and vehicle rallies were banned with immediate effect. The EC further added that no public meeting with more than 500 people will be allowed.
The EC also noted that several political parties and candidates were still not abiding by COVID safety protocols during said gathering.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also, on Thursday, cancelled her upcoming meetings in view of the rising COVID cases.
More Details of Phase VI
As many as 14,480 polling booths were set up, as per NDTV. BJP and TMC are contesting all 43 seats. In the Left-Cong alliance, Congress has fielded 12 candidates, CPI(M) 23, All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) four and CPI two. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded 37 candidates.
PM Modi urged voters to "exercise their franchise" and vote on Thursday morning.
West Bengal BJP Vice-President Arjun Singh, his son and BJP’s Bhatpara candidate Pawan Singh cast their votes at booth number 144 in Jagatdal of North 24 Parganas, reported ANI.
BJP national Vice-President Mukul Roy cast his vote at booth number 141 at Kanchrapara Municipal Polytechnic High School in the North 24 Parganas district. He is contesting from the Krishnanagar Uttar seat in Nadia district, against Koushani Mukherjee from TMC and Congress candidate Sylvie Saha, as per the report.
AITC Candidate Kajal Sinha Tests COVID Positive, Admitted to ICU
AITC Candidate of Khardaha AC and North 24 Parganas, Kajal Sinha, has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been admitted to the Beleghata ID. He is presently in the ICU.
Stringent security measures were incorporated, including the use of drones at 131-132 polling booths in Amdanga, North 24 Paraganas district, to prevent any untoward incident, added the report.
However, as per Economic Times, some stray incidents of violence were reported. In Raiganj, a TMC activist was allegedly stabbed by BJP workers.
North 24 Parganas saw clashes between TMC and BJP workers outside polling booths, accusing the other of rigging votes. The clashes lead to the injury of five people. Two of them were from TMC, and three from BJP, as per the report.
TMC accused CRPF of firing a shot at their worker, Kabirul near booth number 79 of Dighra Malikberia area in Ashoknagar constituency of North 24 Parganas, as per PTI.
Economic Times added that in the Halisahar area of Naihati constituency, a local party leader and two family members suffered injuries from alleged bombs being hurled.
Police personnel in Amdanga constituency recovered crude bombs as well.
West Bengal is conducting the Assembly polls in eight phases, making it the most drawn-out state election in the state. The seventh phase will be held on 26 April, and the final phase on 29 April. Results of the polls will be declared on 2 May.
Meanwhile, Bengal saw 10,784 new COVID cases on Wednesday, up 13 times since polls began on 27 March.
(With inputs from ANI)
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