West Bengal election phase-4: Over 67% voter turnout recorded till 3 pm; FIR filed against BJP's Roopa Ganguly

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West Bengal election phase-4: Over 67% voter turnout recorded till 3 pm; FIR filed against BJP's Roopa Ganguly
  • 17:31 (IST)

    EC orders FIR against two TMC leaders 

    The Election Commission has cracked the whip, ordering the district administration to file FIR against two TMC leaders: Udayan Guha and Rabindranath Ghosh.
    Candidate from Natabari constituency in Cooch Behar, Ghosh was caught on camera barging inside polling booth and threatening a sector officer. He even accused the officer of acting as a CPM tout. Taking suo motu cognizance of the event, the EC had sought a report.
    Guha, who is contesting from Dinhata constituency on a TMC ticket, has been charged with aiding proxy voting.
    Meanwhile in Kaliachak, Malda, two brothers were shot at by an assailant allegedly linked with the ruling party. They have been admitted to Malda Medical College hospital and have been operated on. Family members say the duo were targeted for their links with CPM.

  • 17:04 (IST)

    Voters in Cooch Behar

    People wait in queues to cast votes at a polling station in Cooch Behar during the final phase of West Bengal Assembly elections on Thursday.


  • 16:50 (IST)

    Opposition demands action against Ghosh

    Condemning Trinamool Congress candidate Rabindra Nath Ghosh's act, the Opposition demanded his immediate arrest. "The Election Commission should immediately take action in the matter and (Rabindra Nath) Ghosh should be immediately arrested," said Revolutionary Socialist Party leader Ashok Ghosh.

  • 16:48 (IST)

    TMC candidate caught threatening polling officer

    TMC candidate Rabindra Nath Ghosh was on Thursday allegedly caught on camera threatening a polling officer inside a booth. Taking cognizance of the media report, the Election Commission has sought a report from the district administration.

    In a video broadcast by a TV channel, Ghosh is seen entering a polling booth in Cooch Behar's Natabari constituency, from where he is contesting, and verbally intimidating the official. "You are acting as a CPM tout; you are here to indulge in touting for the CPI-M?" Ghosh is heard saying and asking the official's name and where he was employed.

    As the official says he is posted at a primary school, Ghosh retorts: "Oh, primary school! that will serve me better." He then moved out of the booth and while boarding his car, he is seen threatening a polling agent for being a "CPM tout".

  • 16:19 (IST)

    74% voter turnout till 3 pm 

    In the final and sixth phase of the West Bengal Assembly election, voter turnout till 3 pm was recorded at 74.15% 

  • 16:17 (IST)

    Central force excesses reported in two districts

    Reports of "central force excesses" poured in from different parts of the two districts (East Midnapore and Cooch Behar) that went to polls in the sixth and final phase of West Bengal Assembly polls on Thursday.
    In Janubasan area of Tamluk, the district headquarters of East Midnapore, a five-year-old boy was allegedly injured when paramilitary jawans tried to disperse a crowd near booth no. 94 leading to massive protest from locals.
    Abdul Kader, the TMC councilor of ward no.14 in Haldia reportedly suffered a hand fracture when CRPF jawans wielded their batons. Six other TMC workers were also injured. According to the forces, the TMC leader and his men had broken the 100-metre rule of not being allowed to assemble near a booth.
    A similar incident was reported from Sitalkuchi, an administrative block in Mathabhanga subdivision of Cooch Behar. Five TMC supporters including two women were reportedly injured when jawans lathicharged on them. Once again, CRPF said they were forced to take action when the group of supporters refused to leave the vicinity of a booth despite repeated warnings.
    In Khejuri, villagers damaged a road in protest against alleged excesses of jawans when six TMC workers were hurt by lathicharge.
    In Moamari, Cooch Behar, CPM worker Azizul Haq was beaten up by bamboo sticks and stones by alleged TMC activists while returning home after casting ballot. His family members were also threatened, report local TV channels.

  • 15:42 (IST)

    EC's disabled-friendly booth a big hit

    In the 51 erstwhile enclaves in Cooch Behar, over 9,000 enthusiastic voters, including three centenarians, voted for the first time since the country's Independence. Thousands turned up in East Midnapore's over 4,000 disabled voter-friendly booths, aided by the Election Commission's special initiatives.

    In East Midnapore's Moyna seat, the CPM alleged that its polling agent's house was broken into and vandalised by Trinamool Congress supporters. The Trinamool, in turn, accused the Congress of overwhelming several booths in Moyna constituency in the district.

    Five Trinamool workers were reportedly detained in the assembly segment on the charge of intimidating voters.

    In Nandigram, the Opposition accused the Trinamool of intimidating and threatening their agents.


  • 14:16 (IST)

    Over 61% voter turnout by 1 pm

    According to latest Election Commission  data, 61.88 per cent votes have been cast till 1 pm in the sixth and final phase of polling in West Bengal. Cooch Behar witnessed a polling percentage of 58.81 while for East Midnapore, the figure stood at 63.61, reports Firstpost's Sreemoy Talukdar.

  • 14:04 (IST)

    TMC accuses EC of 'spreading terror' 

    In final phase of polling in West Bengal Assembly polls, the ruling party accused the Election Commission of "spreading terror". Six TMC workers were injured when central forces lathicharged on a crowd in Moyna of East Midnapore district, report Firstpost's Sreemoy Talukdar.

    The incident took place near booth numbers 255 and 266 in Deubhanga when CRPF jawans wielded their batons to disperse TMC workers gathered around the booths. The ruling party claimed that they had maintained a distance of 200 metres away from the polling area. Section 144, was, however, imposed in the area.

    Similar complaints were made by TMC in Natabari constituency of Cooch Behar where four party workers were beaten up when central forces lathicharged to disperse 'unlawful assemblies' near booth numbers 173, 178, 180 and 182.

    In East Midnapore's Khejuri, TMC workers were caught trying to influence voters with fake EVM machines. According to reports in local TV channels, supporters of opposition parties were warned against stepping outside to vote in Satsimli village. The ones who did were intercepted on the road leading to the booth and 'tutored' on which button to press.

    Meanwhile, the TMC has complained to the EC against BJP for holding a press conference on polling day. Mamata Banerjee's party said it was an attempt to influence voters.

  • 12:21 (IST)

    Police officer emerges as hero in an election marred by threats

    Almost straight out of a Bollywood script, a police officer emerged as the hero as voting touched midpoint in the sixth and final phase of West Bengal Assembly elections.

    Amid reports of voter intimidation from Mytore, a hamlet in Panskura (west) constituency under East Midnapore, officer Mohammed Bilal Hossain was seen going door-to-door and trying to allay the fears of local residents who were visibly scared stiff. "Don't be afraid. We are here to help you," the officer was seen in footage from local TV channels. "Who has threatened you, tell me their names," asked the officer to voters, many of whom refused to identify themselves for fear of retribution. Some broke out in tears. Hossain also gave a local CPM agent a ride in his jeep and escorted him to the polling booth from where he was driven out.

    TMC candidate from Nandigram Subhendu Adhikari, one of the leaders whose name featured in the infamous Narada sting videos, dismissed all claims of voter intimidation, however.

    In an interview to 24 Ghanta, Adhikari said the charges were "concocted and voting was extremely peaceful." Though reports emerged of voters being threatened in many areas of Nandigram including Khejuri, Mytore and Haldia, Adhikari said these were baseless reports.

    "The central forces have created a reign of terror. We have understood their strategy. Accordingly, we changed our tactics," the TMC strongman said.

  • 12:03 (IST)

    Over 45% voter turnout by 11 am

  • 11:09 (IST)

    TMC leader in Murshidabad critically injured

    In other news, Subir Sarkar, the district secretary of Trinamool Congress in Murshidabad, was critically injured when three bike borne assailants pumped three bullets into his hand, leg and chest near his residence in Berhampore area.

    Doctors in Murshidabad Medical College have operated on him but Sarkar's condition is still serious. Voting has ended two weeks back in Murshidabad, the fief of Congress state president Adhir Chowdhury.

    One of the pockets in the state where Congress still has strong influence, Murshidabad has experienced incidents of post-poll violence. The ruling party has blamed the attack on Congress but the Grand Old Party has denied all charges. It said the shootout was a result of TMC infighting.

  • 11:05 (IST)

    103-year-old man casts vote in Dinhata

  • 11:02 (IST)

    Suvendu Adhikari sends legal notice to Surya Kanta Mishra

    A legal notice has been served to CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra for allegedly making "false allegations and sullying" the reputation of Trinamool
    Congress candidate in Nandigram, Suvendu Adhikari. 

    Mishra had on Tuesday complained to the Election Commission alleging that Adhikari had held a meeting on 1 May at a college at Panskura in East Midnapore district with officers in-charge of Moyna, Haldia, Marishda, Ramnagar and Panskura police stations "to keep the central forces away from action" during Thursday's polling in the district. 

    "I have sent a legal notice to Mishra against such utterly false allegations levelled at me to harm my and TMC's reputation. No such meeting had taken place," Adhikari told PTI last night.

  • 10:50 (IST)

    Some reports of rigging and voter intimidation in largely peaceful voting atmosphere

    In a largely peaceful voting atmosphere so far, Cooch Behar's Mathabhanga and Sitalkuchi constituencies came into limelight with reports of rigging and voter intimidation.

    In Sitalkuchi, CPM Rafikul Mian was attacked and thrashed by alleged TMC workers while returning home after casting ballot in booth No 176. "I was told yesterday not to go near the polling booth. I was beaten up for not listening to them," Rafikul told a local TV channel after filing an FIR against a few TMC workers.

    Footage also showed central forces chasing away crowds near polling booths from different locations in Sitalkuchi where former TMC minister Hiten Barman is up for reelection.

    In East Midnapore's Nandigram, the seat of TMC heavyweight and sitting Tamluk Lok Sabha MP Subhendu Adhikari, reports emerged of the ruling party distributing ice cream and chocolates among kids and puffed rice among their parents who are out for voting. One CPM agent was reportedly beaten up in Kendamari region of Nandigram. In many booths, the opposition have failed to install their polling agents.

  • 10:22 (IST)

    Over 23% voter turnout by 9 am

  • 10:01 (IST)

    From Nandigram to Natabari, complains of threats and mismanagement pour in   

    Nandigram, the seat of Trinamool Congress's uprising when it unseated CPIM after 34 years in 2011, was at the centre of early attention with Left Front alleging that over 200 booths were without their polling agents because the ruling party had threatened their workers overnight, reports Firstpost's Sreemoy Talukdar.

    TMC MP Subhendu Adhikari, the candidate from Nandigram and widely expected to win, dismissed the charge. "What can I do if people are not ready to support them? Is it my problem that they have not been able to organize agents," he told news channel 24 Ghanta.

    The Election Commission has received complaints from Moyna, another administrative division in Tamluk subdivision of East Midnapore, that a polling agent's father was allegedly kidnapped by TMC goons.

    In Natabari area of Cooch Behar district, CPM candidate Tamser Ali accused TMC of "managing central forces" by giving them food and liquor. There was no patrolling or route march from CRPF jawans, he alleged

  • 09:46 (IST)

    300 complaints lodged with EC in first couple of hours

    A total of 300 complaints were lodged with the Election Commission in the first couple of hours as voting got under way in the sixth and final phase of West Bengal Assembly polls covering 25 seats across two districts. Most of the complaints came from East Midnapore which has 16 constituencies while reports of irregularities also trickled in from Cooch Behar, reports Firstpost's Sreemoy Talukdar.

  • 09:30 (IST)

    Residents of 51 enclaves in Cooch Behar district exercise their franchise for the first time as Indian citizens

    103-year-old Asghar Ali cast his ballot for the first time in his life on Thursday when residents of Chhitmahal, one of the 51 enclaves in Cooch Behar district, exercised their franchise for the first time as Indian citizens, reports Firstpost's Sreemoy Talukdar. These enclaves were formally declared Indian territory in August last year after an exchange with Bangladesh. Both countries exchanged 162 adversely-held enclaves on 1 August, 2015 ending one of the world's most complex border disputes.

  • 08:14 (IST)

  • 07:58 (IST)

  • 07:52 (IST)

    Voting begins for final phase

    (Updates begin for 5 May)

  • 17:04 (IST)

    73% votes cast till 3 pm 

    Till 3 pm in the afternoon, 72.19 percent votes have been cast in the fifth phase of West Bengal Assembly polls. Kolkata south constituency witnessed 58.05 percent votes, South 24 Parganas saw a voting percentage of 73.19 percent and in Hooghly 72.46 percent votes were cast.

  • 17:02 (IST)

    Major violence reported in last stages of polling

    Major violence broke out in the last stages of voting in the fifth phase of West Bengal Assembly elections. In Nabagram area of Baruipur constituency, four Trinamool Congress workers were injured in firing during a clash with CPM activists. One 14-year-old took a bullet in his hand, while three others including a differently-abled individual were also hurt in firing. The injured have been admitted to the Baruipur Mahakuma Hospital. The Election Commission took suo motu cognizance of the incident and has sought an urgent report on the incident.

    The allegations have been labelled against one Rafikul Mollah, though CPIM candidate in the area, Sujoy Mistry, has denied all charges.

    Clashes broke out near booth No 162 in Nabagram. Six people have so far been arrested.

    In a separate incident, the Election Commission has ordered the removal of a Presiding Officer (PO) in booth No 271 in Arambagh. According to reports, the PO was aiding a TMC leader in rigging. The EC has also ordered an FIR to be filed.

  • 16:54 (IST)

    Polling in South 24 Pargana

    A Central Force jawan keeps strict vigil as voters stand in queues to cast their votes at a polling station in South 24 Pargana during the fifth phase of West Bengal Assembly Elections on Saturday.


  • 16:18 (IST)

    Voters before getting inked

    Voters in Hooghly show their identity cards before casting votes on Saturday at a polling station during the fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly Election. 


  • 16:07 (IST)

    CM Mamata Banerjee after casting her vote

  • 15:32 (IST)

    People brave the heat to cast votes

    Amid tight security and braving the sweltering heat, over 57 percent of the electorate cast their votes in the first six hours of polling for 53 constituencies in the fifth and penultimate phase of West Bengal's assembly polls on Saturday. While the EC claimed the polling was peaceful, the CPI-M and Congress accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of intimidating voters and election agents. Trinamool leaders including Lok Sabha member Abhishek Banerjee alleged "excesses" by the central security forces. 


  • 15:16 (IST)

    57% votes cast till 1 pm

    Election Commission data says till 1 pm in the afternoon, 57.1 percent ballots were cast in the fifth phase of West Bengal Assembly elections. Kolkata south experienced 46.35 percent voting, South 24 Parganas saw 58.24 percent and Hooghly polled the highest number so far with 59.83 percent. 

  • 15:14 (IST)

    Drones deployed

    Kolkata Police have taken no chances. As part of unprecedented security measures for the fifth phase, the cops have pressed drones into service to keep an eye on mischief mongers.

  • 15:12 (IST)

    8 injured in clashes

    Jailed TMC candidate Madan Mitra's wife has complained to the Election Commission against Deepa Dasmunshi who is taking on Mamata Banerjee in Bhawanipore. Metiabruz in Kolkata witnessed clashes between TMC and CPM activists forcing police to resort to mild lathicharge. Eight people have been arrested from Metiabruz and Rajabagan.

  • 15:10 (IST)

    EC gets 1,500 complaints

    A total of 1,500 complaints have so far been lodged with the Election Commission. In Bhangar, Marxist-turned TMC candidate Rezzak Mollah is battling infighting led by own party leader Arabul Islam. Footage in local TV channels showed Mollah's supporters injured in attack ostensibly from Arabul's men. Mamata Banerjee had appointed Arabul as Mollah's poll manager despite a history of bitter rivalry between the two.

    In Basanti, South 24 Parganas, seven people have been injured when political clashes broke out between TMC and RSP workers. Women were also reportedly attacked in clashes near Bhangarkhali Primary School and TV footage showed one woman voter with a split lip. Paramilitary forces have now been deployed in the area though situation remains tense.

  • 15:06 (IST)

    FIR against Sonali Guha

    Election Commission has asked the South 24 Parganas district administration to lodge an FIR against Sonali Guha. Deputy speaker of (now dissolved) state Assembly Guha was is facing action for her comments against EC, challenging central forces at work and threatening rival polling agents. Considered close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Guha is contesting the election from Satgachia seat. She organized a 'sit-in' protest after voting in a booth was suspended due to a malfunctioning EVM.

  • 14:40 (IST)

    TMC leader Firhad Hakim in trouble over 'mini Pakistan' remark

    BJP alleged that a state minister and Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim has described a part of Kolkata port area as "mini Pakistan" in an interview to Pakistan daily Dawn and demanded an explanation.

    "How can a minister say such things? We demand an explanation from both Firhad Hakim and also Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee," BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said.

    When contacted Hakim told PTI he never made such comment. "The Pakistani journalist came along with a journalist of a local Bengali daily. She only asked me that this place looks like Karachi of Pakistan. I did not make any comment. She spoke to me about my election campaign. I answered those questions. That's all," he said.

  • 14:26 (IST)

    Moon Moon Sen and her daughters cast their votes

  • 14:25 (IST)

    Voters threatened by TMC goons: Opposition

    In Hooghly's Singur constituency, polling was peaceful in all 16 gram panchayats, EC reports said. Both the CPM candidate Rabin Deb and TMC's veteran
    leader Rabindranath Bhattacharya, a sitting MLA, thanked the Election Commission for the peaceful polls. 

    Allegations by the Opposition CPM and Congress that their polling agents were not allowed to enter many booths were received from many places in South 24-Parganas, a charge denied by the ruling party. The Opposition also claimed that voters in rural areas of Caning East, Canning West, Bhangar, Gosaba and Kakdwip districts were not allowed to cast their votes as they were threatened by TMC goons. The ruling party has denied the charge.

    Central forces were not seen inside several booths in Kakdwip and Shyamnagar under Bhangar constituency, Opposition parties claimed.

  • 14:03 (IST)

    Violence reported in some areas

    Amid a largely peaceful fifth phase so far, incidents of violence have been reported from Goghat and Arambagh in Hooghly district. In Goghat, Forward Bloc candidate Biswanath Karak and his bodyguard were beaten up with the butt of a rifle by TMC-linked hooligans sparking off a massive search operation by central forces. ETV News Bangla reports that five TMC activists have been arrested. Karak, who was on his way to visit some booths after getting reports of rigging, was waylaid by a biker gang.

    In Bhangar, the constituency of controversial TMC candidate Rezzak Mollah, CPM supporters were reportedly prevented from going near the polling booth. Footage in Kolkata TV showed CPM workers and supporters blaming local TMC workers for threatening them. Mollah, however, has denied all charges.

    In Kolkata'a Jadavpur constituency, central forces prevented TMC candidate Manish Gupta from entering a booth with outsiders in tow. One false voter has been nabbed.

  • 13:53 (IST)

    RAF deployed near CM's residence

    RAF was deployed and a huge police contingent rushed to Patua Para area of Kalighat near Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's residence after reports emerged of a huge number 'outsiders' in the locality. The cops were acting on Deepa Dasmunshi's complaint that TMC workers and outsiders were threatening voters and in some places distributing soft drinks near polling booths. Local TV channels report that some arrests have been made.

  • 13:48 (IST)

    Voter turnout recorded at 55% till 1 pm

  • 13:44 (IST)

    Sporadic incidents of violence reported

    Over 38 percent of the electorate cast their votes in the first four hours today in the fifth and penultimate phase of the Assembly polls in West Bengal
    where three persons sustained injuries in sporadic incidents of violence. The Election Commission said the overall average turnout was 38.30 percent. A report from Chinsurah in Hooghly district said a villager sustained head injury when he was allegedly attacked by Trinamool Congress supporters at Puin village in Arambag constituency. Police have arrested one TMC supporter. A report from Canning in South 24 Parganas said two persons were injured as central force jawans used batons to disperse clashing Trinamool Congress and CPM supporters in front of a booth in Kathaliya village under Bhangar constituency.

  • 13:10 (IST)

    Former CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya at a polling booth

  • 12:58 (IST)

    TMC leader Firhad Hakim casts his vote

  • 12:41 (IST)

    Crude bombs found in Kolkata's Keyatal area

    Three crude bombs were found in Kolkata's posh Keyatala area creating panic among the residents. Police immediately deactivated the bombs. In Basanti, a town in Canning subdivision of South 24 Parganas, two CPM agents Abdul Barik and Sajul Sardar were allegedly kidnapped. In booth No 64 of the same area, cops rushed in after reports came of TMC goons allegedly threatening local voters. In Thakurpukur area of South 24 Parganas, TMC-affiliated goons were allegedly attacking the residences of rival party workers and issuing rape threats against their family members.

  • 12:35 (IST)

    Opposition demands immediate action against Guha

    "The Election Commission's media monitoring cell must have seen the entire incident on TV. They must take immediate cognizance and put Guha under arrest. We will obviously file a complaint, but the CEC and CEO should act on its own," CPM MP and politburo member Mohammad Salim was quoted as saying in ABP Ananda.

    Congress state president Adhir Chowdhury said the incident has shamed Bengal. "Everyone saw how a deputy speaker was asking her party workers to thrash rival polling agents. The likes of Guha have been tutored well by their headmistress Mamata Banerjee. We have already lodged a complaint. The EC should immediately impound her," Chowdhury was heard as saying in local TV channels.

    Late reports indicate the EC has sought a report on the incident. 

  • 12:28 (IST)

    Over 38% voter turnout in first four hours

    According to latest EC data, 38.30 percent votes have been cast till 11 am in fifth phase of Bengal Assembly polls. Four seats in South Kolkata witnessed 32.58 percent voting, South 24 Parganas 39.81 percent and Hooghly 36.97 percent.

  • 12:22 (IST)

    TMC leader caught inciting party workers

    Trinamool Congress leader Sonali Guha is in hot water after TV channels caught her inciting party workers over the phone. Guha, TMC candidate from South 24 Pargana's Satgachia constituency, was seen instructing party activists to "thrash and drive out CPM agents from booths". A malfunctioning EVM, which paused voting for over an hour in Kashibati Hindumoyee School (booth No 108), drew Guha's ire as she accused the CPM of damaging the EVMs and asked party members to drive them out. She also engaged in confrontation with paramilitary jawans when they prevented her from entering the booths.
    The Opposition has called for "immediate arrest" of Guha.

  • 12:22 (IST)

    TMC leader caught inciting party workers

    Trinamool Congress leader Sonali Guha is in hot water after TV channels caught her inciting party workers over the phone. Guha, TMC candidate from South 24 Pargana's Satgachia constituency, was seen instructing party activists to "thrash and drive out CPM agents from booths". A malfunctioning EVM, which paused voting for over an hour in Kashibati Hindumoyee School (booth No 108), drew Guha's ire as she accused the CPM of damaging the EVMs and asked party members to drive them out. She also engaged in confrontation with paramilitary jawans when they prevented her from entering the booths.
    The opposition has called for "immediate arrest" of Guha.

  • 12:15 (IST)

    Political heavyweights in fifth phase of polling

    Though all eyes are on Bhawanipore, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is seeking re-election, also in fray are state ministers and Trinamool heavyweights Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, city mayor Sovon Chatterjee and Iqbal Ahmed - who were among the leaders allegedly shown taking money in the Narada News sting operation videos in return for doling out favours to a fictitious company.

    Another star candidate is Abdur Rezzak Mollah, a high-profile minister during the Left Front regime, who is contesting on a Trinamool ticket from Bhangore in South 24 Parganas.

    Celebrated actress and legislator Debasree Roy is taking on CPM heavyweight and former state minister Kanti Ganguly at Raidighi in South 24 Parganas.


  • 11:43 (IST)

    Civic police volunteer dead

  • 11:37 (IST)

    38% voter turnout till 11 am

Kolkata: Polling for the fourth phase of West Bengal Assembly polls, which will decide the fate of several Trinamool Congress ministers, began this morning with unprecedented security arrangements.

Voters were seen lining up before 12,500 polling stations in 49 seats in North 24 Parganas district, including Bidhan Nagar, and Howrah district as polling began at 7 am.

The polling will continue till 6 pm.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

An estimated 1.08 crore voters were eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 345 candidates, including TMC ministers Amit Mitra, Purnendu Basu, Chandrima Bhattacharya, Bratya Basu, Jyotipriyo Mullick and Aroop Roy to choose from.

Of the total contestants only 40 candidates are women.

Meanwhile, in the wake of reports of violence in the third phase of polling which left at least one CPI-M worker dead, the Election Commission has made unprecedented security arrangements for this phase.

Altogether 90,000 security personnel including central armed forces have been deployed. Special intervention includes patrolling in night and even on river, which is being done for the first time in this elections.

Special focus is being laid on Salt Lake area (Bidhannagar) in the northern part of city, EC officials said.

The central force contingent includes 672 companies who will be assisted by a 22,000 strong team of state police personnel.

To keep a strict vigil on the law and order situation, five police observers, all of IAS ranks, have been deployed in the two districts.

Besides, another 1100 mobile surveillance teams will be doing additional monitoring work.

Based on inputs from the electorate, about 5500 voters have been identified as vulnerable voters who received threats or intimidation from about 1500 trouble mongers.

Around 1400 of the history-sheeters have been "bound down" by the district authorities.

All eyes will be on jailed former Transport and Sports minister Madan Mitra, who is contesting from Kamarhati seat in North 24 Parganas district.

Mitra was arrested by CBI in December 2014 in the multi-crore rupee Saradha chit fund scam. This is the first time that a high-profile candidate is fighting elections in West Bengal from jail.

Interestingly, despite being a registered voter he will not be allowed to cast his vote because of incarceration.

Greenhorns in the fray in this phase include former BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya's daughter Vaishali and former Bengal cricket captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla - both of whom are fighting on TMC tickets.

Shukla is pitted against actress-turned-politician Rupa Ganguly of BJP from north Howrah seat.

Footballer Dipendu Biswas has been fielded by TMC from south Basirhat seat which is being defended by BJP's lone sitting MLA Shamik Bhattacharya.


Bidhannagar Mayor Sabyasachi Dutta is fighting for his seat from Rajarhat New Town.

Issues like the 'Syndicate Raj' (local real estate cartel), Saradha chit fund scam and Narada sting operation dominated the campaigns of this poll.

Two other phases of the six-phase long Bengal election will be held on 30 April and 5 May while results will be out on 19 May.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 05, 2016 17:31:36 IST

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