April 23, 2021

The Times of Bengal

Manusher Sathe,Manusher Pashe

West Bengal Assembly elections Phase 1 live updates | 79.79% turnout till 5 p.m. in voting marked by sporadic violence

6 min read


Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from various places that went to polls on Saturday during the first phase of Bengal Assembly polls, even as the overall poll situation was largely peaceful with 79.79% turnout recorded till 5 p.m., an official said.

Voting was held in 30 seats — several of them part of the once-Naxal-hit Jangalmahal region — amid tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, the Election Commission (EC) official said.

In some booths, voters were provided with masks, sanitisers and polythene gloves.

Of the 30 seats that went to polls — nine are in Purulia, four each in Bankura and Jhargram, six in Paschim Medinipur, and seven in high-stakes Purba Medinipur district.

“Till 5 p.m., 79.79% polling has been recorded in the State. By and large, elections were held peacefully,” the EC official said.

Purba Medinipur recorded the highest turnout at 82.51%, followed by Jhargram at 80.56%, Paschim Medinipur at 80.12%, Bankura at 79.90% and Purulia at 77.07%.

Here are the live updates:

7.55 pm

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from various places that went to polls on Saturday during the first phase of Bengal assembly polls, even as the overall poll situation was largely peaceful with 79.79 per cent turnout recorded till 5 pm, an official said.

Voting was held in 30 seats — several of them part of the once-Naxal-hit Jangalmahal region — amid tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, the Election Commission (EC) official said.

In some booths, voters were provided with masks, sanitisers and polythene gloves.

Of the 30 seats that went to polls — nine are in Purulia, four each in Bankura and Jhargram, six in Paschim Medinipur, and seven in high-stakes Purba Medinipur district.

“Till 5 pm, 79.79 percent polling has been recorded in the state. By and large, elections were held peacefully,” the EC official said.

Purba Medinipur recorded the highest turnout at 82.51 per cent, followed by Jhargram at 80.56, Paschim Medinipur at 80.12 per cent, Bankura at 79.90 per cent and Purulia at 77.07 per cent.

PTI

4.05 pm

70.17 per cent of 73.80 lakh voters exercise their franchise till 3 p.m. in 30 seats where polling is underway for first phase.

PTI

1 pm

54.90% of the 73.80 lakh voters have cast votes till 1 p.m. in the 30 seats where polling is underway.

PTI

12 pm

Allegations of malpractice

Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate from Salboni Sushanta Ghosh was heckled when he visited a polling booth in the constituency. The former Minister was allegedly pushed by Trinamool Congress supporters and his vehicle was attacked.

Locals ran after the vehicle of the CPI(M) leader and hurled shoes. They also attacked vehicles of media personnel present at the spot. The car of BJP leader Soumendu Adhikari, the brother of Suvendu Adhikari, was also attacked in Kanthi.

In Kanthi’s Majra area, Trinamool supporters alleged that even after pressing the EVM buttons in favour of TMC candidates, the VVPAT slips showed votes for the BJP. The locals stopped voting and blocked roads by burning tyres. Voting was resumed after three hours.

Earlier in the day, there was tension in the Keshriary Assembly seat after a body of a BJP worker was found. The body of Mangal Soren was found in the courtyard of his house in Begumpur area.

While the body had injuries, the preliminary reports with the office of Chief Electoral Office, West Bengal said that the death was not linked to political violence.

In Bhagwanpur constituency, locals alleged that BJP supporters had threatened them against voting. The villages said that BJP supporters also beat them up.

 

11.30 am

36.09% voter turnout in West Bengal so far.

10 am

Turnout over 15% so far

A woman checks the temperature of a voter before he casts his vote at a polling booth during the first phase of the Assembly elections in Purulia district, West Bengal, on March 27, 2021.

A woman checks the temperature of a voter before he casts his vote at a polling booth during the first phase of the Assembly elections in Purulia district, West Bengal, on March 27, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Turnout in West Bengal so far is 15.30%, according to the Election Commission’s voter turnout app.

9.30 am

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from some areas that are voting in the first phase of the Assembly elections in West Bengal on Saturday, even as the overall poll situation was peaceful with 14.28% turnout recorded till 9 am, officials said.

Elections are being held in 30 seats, most of which are in the once-Naxal-affected Jungle Mahal region, across five districts amid tight security, they said.

A man, in his mid-30s, was found dead in Keshiary’s Begumpur area in the Paschim Medinipur district in the morning, police said. He has been identified as Mangal Soren, they said, adding that his body was found outside his home.

The BJP claimed that Soren was their supporter and was allegedly killed by TMC “goons”, a charge rubbished by the ruling party. “TMC is trying to create tension in the area during polling so they killed Mangal,” local BJP leader Bablu Baram alleged.

However, the district administration in its report to the Election Commission (EC) said that there was no connection of the death to the polls.

PTI

9 am

 

Polling officers check election material before leaving for their respective stations ahead of the Phase I polling for Assembly elections in West Bengal in Medinipur, March 26, 2021.

Polling officers check election material before leaving for their respective stations ahead of the Phase I polling for Assembly elections in West Bengal in Medinipur, March 26, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: AP

 

Over 90% of the people in the seats going to polls today are from rural areas. The share of ST population in these seats is nearly three times that of the State’s overall share. About 20% of households in phase 1 depend on cultivation for their primary income.

Read a a demographic breakdown of the constituencies here.

8.45 am

‘Vote in record numbers’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 27 urged people to cast votes in record numbers as polling began in the morning for the first phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal and Assam.“The first phase of elections begin in Assam. Urging those eligible to vote in record numbers. I particularly call upon my young friends to vote.

“Today, Phase 1 of the West Bengal Assembly elections begin. I would request all those who are voters in the seats polling today to exercise their franchise in record numbers,” he tweeted.

The BJP hopes to retain power in Assam and defeat the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

 

8.15 am

The 30 constituencies that are going to polls today are highlighted in the map.

Chart appears incomplete? Click to remove AMP mode

7.45 am

Tight security

Polling is being held amid tight security with the Election Commission deploying around 730 companies of central forces, guarding 10,288 polling booths housed in 7,061 premises, officials said.

Each company of the central forces consists of 100 personnel, they said.

Besides, 22,092 state police personnel have also been deployed at strategic locations, they added.

PTI

7.30 am

Long queues, no masks

Long queues were seen outside many booths even before polling began with people stepping out early to avoid the sweltering heat, besides the uncertainty of being able to cast their votes in case of violence later in the day.

Most of the voters and political party workers were seen without masks amid a resurgent coronavirus. In some booths, the voters were provided masks, while santisers were made available at all the locations.

Polling will go on till 6 p.m.

PTI

7.15 am

Fate of 191 candidates to be decided

More than 73 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 191 candidates in these seats, most of which are located in the once-Naxal-affected Jungle Mahal region.

The elections are being held following COVID-19 guidelines in all nine seats in Purulia, four in Bankura, four in Jhargram and six in Paschim Medinipur, besides the seven seats in high-stakes Purba Medinipur — the home turf of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari.

PTI

7 am

Phase one of Assembly elections begins

Polling begins in the five districts.

The first phase polling in Bengal will take place in sensitive areas, that were once the stronghold of the underground Maoists, and hence the Election Commission has deployed 732 companies of Central forces in the five districts to ensure smooth polls.

Of the 30 seats going to polls in Bengal, nine are located in Purulia, seven in Purba Medinipur, six in Paschim Medinipur and four each in Jhargram and Purulia.



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