The eighth and final phase of West Bengal Assembly polls was held peacefully with an estimated voter turnout of 76.07 per cent till 5 pm on Thursday, according to the Election Commission.
Polling for the last phase of West Bengal assembly elections began at 7 am and continued till 6:30 pm.
Voting was held in 11,860 polling stations spread across 35 assembly constituencies in four districts.
Among the 35 constituencies that went to polls in Phase-VIII, six are in Malda, eleven in Birbhum, eleven in Murshidabad and seven in Kolkata.
Among the four districts, Birbhum recorded the highest voter turnout of 81.82 per cent till 5 pm. The lowest voter turnout was observed in Kolkata North with 57.85 per cent.
Constituency-wise, Hariharpara in the Murshidabad district recorded the highest voter turnout of 84.19 per cent, followed by Labhpur in Birbhum district at 84.03 per cent. Jorasanko constituency in Kolkata witnessed the lowest voter turnout at 48.45 per cent.
As many as 283 candidates, including 35 women were in the fray in the last phase of the assembly elections.
In Phase-VIII, there were 84,78,274 voters, including 41,22,035 women and 159 of the third gender. The total number of PwD electors and electors over 80 years of age are 72,094 and 1,12,440 respectively. A total of 11,860 Ballot Units (BUs), 11,860 Control Units (CUs) and 11,860 VVPATs were used in this phase of polling. 6,074 out of 11,860 polling stations were monitored live through webcasting.
Briefing the mediapersons, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of West Bengal, Aariz Aftab said, "Total 1,179 complaints we have received today. Among the major things, two bombing incidents were reported in Kolkata. Apart from this, an altercation was reported in village Gidaha in Nanoor at 8 am when a candidate visited booth no 107, 107A, 108 and 108 A by his car with a party flag. The backside windscreen of the car was damaged."
"In another incident, at booth no 29 and 29 in Bolpur constituency an altercation between two groups happened around 2.50 pm when a candidate was coming with a few voters. Few people sustained minor injuries and the rear windscreen of a vehicle was damaged," he added.
Jag Mohan, ADG (law and order), West Bengal said, "Total 835 persons were held under preventive sections during the day. Among these, 316 people were arrested under the jurisdiction of Kolkata Police. Further, 20 people were arrested in specific cases. We arrested four under section 144. 78 crude bombs were recovered from various places. Five illegal weapons and 21 rounds of ammunition were recovered throughout the day. No incidence of bombings reported from Malda, Murshidabad and Birbhum."
Subhankar Sinha Sarkar, Joint CP Kolkata Police said, "Two bombing incidents reported in Kolkata. The first one at 7.30 am under Jorasanko Police Station, where two crude bombs exploded near Mahajati Sadan. We are investigating the matter and collecting the CCTV footage. In the second incident, two crude bombs exploded at Rabindra Sarani under Posta Police Station around 9 am. We arrested six persons in this case."
Asked about COVID guidelines to be followed during counting, the CEO said, "As far as counting agents are concerned, there are three things have been prescribed; either a double dose of vaccination or RAT test or RT-PCR test. All the district magistrates are intimated in this regard. Everyone entering the counting site have to wear protective gear like mask, face shield, and carry sanitiser. The temperature will be checked at the gates."
The ruling All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) and BJP contested on all 35 seats. Congress, the Left parties and the Indian Secular Front (ISF) have made a coalition and contested under the banner of Sanyukta Morcha.Out of the 35 seats in this round, Congress had 19 in its share, CPI(M) had 10, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) had one, All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) had three and ISF had four seats. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also tried its luck and had fielded 24 candidates.
West Bengal witnessed an eight-phased Assembly election this time. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
( With inputs from ANI )
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