West Bengal election 2021 LIVE Updates: Approximately 78.36 percent voter turnout was recorded till 6.30 pm, as per ECI app. However, this number is likely to go up as the ECI compiles final data from each seat
West Bengal election 2021 LATEST Updates: Approximately 78.36 percent voter turnout was recorded till 6.30 pm, as per ECI app. However, this number is likely to go up as the ECI compiles final data from each seat.
The Congress on Saturday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "shocking callousness" for addressing rallies in poll-bound West Bengal "instead of staying in Delhi" to handle the COVID pandemic situation.
Congress' senior spokesperson P Chidambaram said the prime minister should be at his job, sitting at his desk and coordinating with chief ministers in handling the COVID pandemic.
"It is shocking callousness on the part of the prime minister to be addressing rallies in West Bengal, instead of staying in Delhi and handling the situation. He should be there in Delhi fighting the war instead," he told reporters at a press conference.
"I hope the people of West Bengal will take note of this and give him a shocking reply," Chidambaram said in response to a question.
"He (PM) should be at his job, at his desk, taking decisions and coordinating with state governments and reassuring chief ministers that their demands on vaccines, oxygen and ventilators would be met. This is the prime minister's job today," he said.
The Election Commission on Saturday sought a report from poll observers on an alleged incident of firing by central forces in Deganga constituency of South 24 Parganas — where voting is underway — after such allegations were levelled by locals, PTI reported.
A senior election official said the office of CEO Ariz Aftab has received video footage, in which villagers are seen alleging that central forces opened fire near a booth in the Kurulgacha area of Deganga to chase them away.
"We have sought a quick report on the matter from the poll observers there," he said.
At the Ausgram rally on Saturday, Amit Shah said, "It is only BJP's government that can stop infiltration." He added that the saffron party will also implement the contentious CAA if the party is voted to power.
"As soon as the BJP government is formed in Bengal, we will make people of Matuva, Namasudra society a citizen of India with respect. Do whatever opposition didi has to do, we will give refugees of India citizenship under the CAA. The BJP government is coming to Bengal with more than 200 seats," he said.
A booth agent of the BJP died after falling sick at a polling station in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district on Saturday morning, prompting the Election Commission to seek a report.
Abhijit Samanta, the BJP agent of booth number 107 in the Kamarhati Assembly constituency, fell sick within an hour of the beginning of the polling, he said.
Samanta was declared brought dead when taken to a hospital, he said. Voters waiting in the queue at the booth alleged that Samanta was not attended by poll officials and the Central forces personnel initially even as he complained of chest pain and started vomiting.
"We have got information that the agent was not attended properly when he complained of sickness. We have sought a report from the micro observer there," the official said.
A controversy erupted on Friday after the BJP released the purported audio clip in which Banerjee is heard telling the Trinamool Congress nominee of Sitalkuchi to hold rallies with bodies of the four persons killed in CISF firing
A controversy erupted on Friday after the BJP released an audio in which the West Bengal CM can be heard telling the TMC's Sitalkuchi candidate to hold rallies with the bodies of the people killed in CISF firing during the fourth phase of polling.
The prime minister launched a sharp attack at the Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal saying that the state needed a "double engine government, not the one that halts development".
The incident was reported from booth number 107 of Kamarhati. The Chief Electoral Officer has sought a report on the death.
People used to come in Bengal for employment but today people from here are migrating because of Mamata Banerjee, said the prime minister while addressing a rally in Asansol.
The party workers resorted to stone pelting in Shantinagar area of Bidhannagar. Several women were also injured in the attack.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP in the state secured nearly 45 percent vote share compared to TMC's 41.5 percent. However, in terms of seats, the TMC was ahead in 23 of them, while the BJP led in remaining 22.
This will be the highest security force concentration in this election, outnumbering the fourth phase when the poll body deployed 789 companies for 44 Assembly seats.
Of the 45 seats in the fifth phase, 13 are in north Bengal and 32 seats will vote in south Bengal. This is the highest number of seats going to polls in any of the eight-phase marathon Assembly elections.
Thirteen seats in north Bengal are spread across three districts — five in Darjeeling, seven in Jalpaiguri and one in Kalimpong. In south Bengal, 16 seats are spread across North 24 Parganas, and there are eight each in Nadia and Bardhaman districts.
Prominent names in the fifth phase include Siliguri Mayor and Left Front leader Ashok Bhattacharya, state ministers Gautam Deb and Bratya Basu and BJP's Samik Bhattacharya.
The fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly Election 2021 will be held on Saturday, 17 April, across 45 constituencies spread over six districts.
Elections to Bengal are being held in eight phases with the first, second, third and fourth phase of Assembly polls being held on 27 March, 1 April, 6 April and 10 April, respectively.
Bengal has already voted for 135 seats in the last four phases. Polling in the previous in the first three phases saw sporadic incidents of violence with members of all political parties, including some TMC candidates, facing attacks by rival camps.
The fourth phase, however, saw unprecedented violence with a CISF firing near a polling station in Sitalkuchi constituency of Cooch Behar killing four voters, while another voter died in a firing by a mob. Attacks on candidates were also reported in the fourth phase of the election. It's to be noted that while polling will be underway for 45 seats in the fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly election, campaigning will continue in the 114 constituencies in the state that are set to vote in three phases on 22 April, 26 April and 29 April. Counting of votes will take place on 2 May.
The Election Commission has decided to deploy at least 853 companies of central forces to ensure free and fair voting, an official of the poll panel said. It will also put in place measures to ensure strict adherence of COVID-19 protocols during the voting process, he said.
West Bengal on Thursday recorded the highest single-day spike of 6,769 coronavirus cases and at least 22 more fatalities.
Prominent names in the fifth phase include Siliguri Mayor and Left Front leader Ashok Bhattacharya, state ministers Gautam Deb and Bratya Basu and BJP's Samik
Voting will be held at 15,789 polling stations in the 45 constituencies 16 seats in North 24 Parganas, eight each in Purba Bardhaman and Nadia, seven in Jalpaiguri, five in Darjeeling and one in Kalimpong district.
The phase is crucial for the ruling Trinamool Congress, which is hoping to better its 2016 tally of 32 seats, even as a resurgent BJP looks to make inroads.
The Left-Congress alliance had bagged 10 seats in the assembly elections five years ago.
Meanwhile, the seizure of illegal inducements to voters, such as liquor and cash, during the ongoing polls to five assemblies and by-polls to some seats has crossed the record value of Rs 1,000 crore, a whopping jump of over four times since the 2016 polls, the Election Commission said Friday.
An Election Commission "progressive" report, which will get updated as the remaining phases of poll are conducted, said the maximum Rs 446.28 crore was seized in Tamil Nadu, where the elections have already ended, followed by West Bengal (Rs 300.11 crore), where four phases are yet to take place.
Drugs and narcotics is the highest category of illegal inducements seized till now in West Bengal (Rs 118.83 crore out of the total Rs 300.11 crore).
The EC said it had deployed a total of 326 expenditure observers, including five special expenditure observers, for free and fair conduct of these polls, while 259 assembly seats were marked as 'expenditure sensitive' for what it called "focussed vigil" to check the flow of black money and freebies.
As per the law, distributing cash and gifts during the electoral process with the intent to influence voters is not permitted and such expenditure comes under the definition of bribery which is an offence both under 171B of IPC and under the Representation of People Act.
"The expenditure on such items is illegal. The drive against the menace of money power will continue with vigour in the remaining
phases of elections and the seizure figures are expected to rise even further," the EC said.
With inputs from PTI