Over 1 crore voters in West Bengal will decide the political fate of 306 candidates on Thursday, when 43 Assembly constituencies go to polls in the sixth phase, amid a raging second wave of COVID-19.
The Election Commission on Wednesday ruled out any change in the schedule of the polls and told the Trinamool Congress that its suggestion to club the last three of the eight phases is “not feasible”.
Security measures have been heightened in view of the violence in the previous phases, particularly the death of five people in Cooch Behar in the fourth phase of polling on April 10, an Election Commission official said.
The poll panel has decided to deploy at least 1,071 companies of central forces in the sixth phase to ensure free and fair voting, he said.
Here are the live updates:
Amid tight security, polling for 43 constituencies began in sixth phase of assembly elections in West Bengal on Thursday, April 22, 2021.
Not feasible to club remaining phases: Poll panel tells Trinamool
The Election Commission has told the Trinamool Congress that its suggestion of clubbing the last three phases of polling in the West Bengal Assembly elections due to the COVID-19 surge was “not feasible”. The EC’s response to a letter sent by Trinamool MP Derek O’ Brien came on the eve of the sixth phase of polling. The seventh and eighth phases are scheduled for April 26 and April 29.
Polling across crucial geographies
From the narrow stretch of land connecting north and south Bengal, often referred as ‘chicken’s neck’, to the constituencies bordering Bangladesh in Nadia and North 24 Parganas districts, the sixth phase of polling in the State will be held across interesting geographies.
Several Assembly constituencies of Uttar Dinajpur like Chopra, Islampur, Goalpokhar and Chakulia border Bangladesh on one side and Bihar on another. The narrow stretch called ‘chicken’s neck’ has a strategic importance and is also inhabited by people of all religions and ethnicities.