Kolkata: Nearly 80 per cent of about 1.22 crore voters exercised their right to franchise across 56 constituencies in the second phase of elections to the West Bengal assembly on Sunday, amid allegations of sporadic violence and voter intimidation. “At 5 pm, the overall polling percentage was 79.70 per cent,” an Election Commission official said. Long queues of voters were seen outside most polling booths despite the sweltering heat and humidity, as voting commenced at 7 am. There are about 1.22 crore registered voters, and 383 candidates, including 33 women.
Balloting took place at 13,645 polling stations. Five of the constituencies are in Alipurduar district, seven in Jalpaiguri, nine in North Dinajpur, six each in Darjeeling and South Dinajpur and 12 in Malda districts. The only south Bengal district going to the polls in this phase is Birbhum. Of its 11 constituencies, seven Dubrajpur, Suri, Nalhati, Rampurhat, Sainthia, Hansan and Murarai have been classified as affected by Left-wing extremism and polling in these areas ended two hours earlier than elsewhere at 4 pm.
There were many people in queue when the scheduled time of polling ended in the other 45 constituencies at 6 pm. “Polling percentage at 5 pm in Alipurduar was 82.07, Jalpaiguri recorded 77.69, Darjeeling 74.00, North Dinajpur 78.90, South Dinajpur 82.72, Malda 79.60 and Birbhum 82.89,” said the official. He said reserve polling officer Gopi Chakraborti on duty in Alipurduar district died after a stroke. There was an initial poll boycott in seven booths of Malda over developmental issues. PTI
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