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70.17% voter turnout in Bengal, 62% in Assam, till 3 pm

India70.17% voter turnout in Bengal, 62% in Assam, till 3 pm
Bengal, Assam Election 2021 Phase 1 Voting: Polling booths across both states opened at 7 am and closes at 6 pm for 30 and 47 seats respectively. Timings have been extended by an hour due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   In Assam, a voter turnout of 62%  was recorded till 3 pm. While in Bengal the turnout was 70.17%. TMC complains that BJP trying to change the polling agent system

Voting started early morning to escape the heat and avoid any poll violence which could occur later in the day.  PTI reports that in some booths, voters were provided masks, while sanitizers and polythene gloves were made available at most locations.  First-time voters in many polling stations were greeted with saplings.

While the polling so far has been peaceful, there are some complaints lodged of EVM glitches, an Election Commission official told news agency PTI.  Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Saturday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to change the process of polling agents in West Bengal, as the polling for the first phase of state assembly elections is underway.

TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay informed the media that a nine-member delegation from the parliamentary party visited the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), submitting a memorandum against BJP’s proposal to change the existing procedure on booth agents.

He said, “We have submitted a memorandum saying that the previous system of the booth agents, or polling agents, he must be a voter of the concerned booth and must contain his identity with IDs with the same booth.”

“But now the BJP has submitted a memorandum requested the Election Commission (EC) to change the system and to allow anybody at any booth, whoever is the resident and the voter of that existing constituency,” he said.

There are serpentine queues seen outside polling booths with voters and election officials adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

Two more phases of election will be held in Assam, with the last one on April 6. Results will be announced on May 2.

In West Bengal, the first of eight phases saw an enthusiastic response in the early hours. By 9 am, nearly 15% of the voters in the 30 seats where polls are underway, most of which are in the once-Naxal-affected Jungalmahal region, across five districts.

By 11 am, this percentage rose to nearly 36.  According to PTI, sporadic spates of violence were reported from some areas.

On Friday night, the officer-in-charge of Patashpur police station, Dipak Chakraborty, and paramilitary personnel were injured in a bomb attack when they were patrolling the area.

They are undergoing treatment at the Egra Hospital and their conditions are stated to be stable, according to officials.

On Friday night, a man, in his mid-30s, Mangal Soren BJP worker was killed in Kharagpur.  BJP accuses TMC of beating him to death and his family reports this occurred on Friday night and his body was found in the courtyard of his own house. TMC rubbished the claims by BJP.

The Election Commission (EC) said that there was no connection of the death to the polls.   The official says a large team of central forces has been deployed in the area.

CPI(M) candidate Susanta Gosh was heckled and stones thrown at his vehicle in the Salboni area of the same district, allegedly by TMC supporters. As soon as he reached Salboni Bazar, some TMC supporters gheraoed and heckled him, following which they also attacked his car, eyewitnesses told PTI.

More than 73 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 191 candidates in these 30 seats.

Voting, which will continue till 6 pm, is being held amid tight security, with the EC deploying around 730 companies of Central forces, guarding 10,288 polling booths housed in 7,061 premises, officials said.

Everyone is anxiously awaiting the results of the votes on May 2nd, which will be a very determining factor in India.


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