Voting Begins In Bengal For Fifth And Biggest Phase Of Assembly Polls

Bengal Assembly Elections LIVE Updates: Voting Begins In Bengal For Fifth And Biggest Phase Of Assembly Polls

Bengal Elections Live: Bengal votes in the fifth phase today (Representational)

New Delhi:

West Bengal is voting today in the fifth phase of the assembly elections held amid an alarming surge of coronavirus cases across the country.

45 seats are going to polls in the biggest of the state’s eight-phased elections. Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and a part of Nadia, North 24 Parganas and Purba Bardhaman will vote today in which a total of 319 candidates, including 39 women are contesting.

Bengal has already voted for 135 seats and after today’s voting, results for more than half of its 294 seats will be sealed. High-profile contestants include the Trinamool’s Bratya Basu, Gautam Deb and Siddiqullah Chowdhury, and the BJP’s Jagannath Sarkar – one of five MPs nominated by the party.

The BJP is contesting all 45 seats. The ruling Trinamool will contest 42 with three given to allies Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). The Congress will contest only 11, with alliance partner CPM contesting 25 and the rest given to smaller parties.

On Friday evening, the Election Commission ordered a 72-hour ‘silence period’, instead of the usual 48 hours, ahead of the remaining rounds of voting. The poll body cited the pandemic and added that election rallies and meetings – on days when campaigning is allowed – would be banned between 7 pm and 10 am.

In the build-up to polling both Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BJP Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh received 24-hour campaign bans. Ms Banerjee was banned over comments relating to Muslim votes while Mr Ghosh was banned for comments on the Cooch Behar violence.

A total of 1,071 companies of central forces for ensuring a peaceful election. In addition to this, 15,790 state police officials will also be on duty.

Here are the LIVE updates of Bengal elections today:

Bengal assembly elections: Voting underway in Bardhaman South

Voters queue outside polling booth 263 in Bardhaman South, in Phase 5 of the West Bengal assembly elections

Bengal assembly elections: Voting underway in Kamarhati

Voters queue up to cast their votes as fifth phase of polling begins; visuals from Kamarhati

Polling for 5th phase of Bengal elections begins, 342 candidates contesting
The polling for the fifth phase of West Bengal assembly elections began at 7 am on Saturday

across 45 assembly segments amid tight security.

Long queues were seen outside polling booths where voting is underway adhering to COVID-19 protocols, official sources said.

Over one crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the political fate of 342 candidates.

Security measures have been heightened for the fifth phase in view of the violence in the previous phase, which witnessed the death of five people in Cooch Behar district, including four in CISF firing.

The Election Commission has decided to deploy at least 853 companies of central forces to ensure free and fair voting, an official said.

The polling will continue till 6:30 pm.


Bengal assembly elections: Voting begins
Voting begins in Bengal in fifth and biggest phase.

Bengal assembly elections: Campaigning timing curtailed
Ahead of the fifth phase of polling, the Election Commission decided to curtail the timings of campaigning for the remaining phases and extended the silence period to 72 hours for each of the phases.

In its order, the EC said: “No rallies, public meetings, street plays, Nukkad sabhas, shall be allowed on any day during the days of campaign between 7 pm and 10 am with effect from 7 pm of 16.4.2021.”

“Silence period for rallies, public meetings, street plays, nukkad sabha, bike rallies or any gathering for campaigning purposes shall be extended to 72 hours before the end of the poll for Phase 6, Phase 7 and Phase 8 in the state of West Bengal,” it added.


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