An ITBP jawan guarding a poll booth in the Hoogly rural constituency during the third phase of West Bengal Assembly polls on April 6, 2021
An ITBP jawan guarding a poll booth in the Hoogly rural constituency during the third phase of West Bengal Assembly polls on April 6, 2021
Photo by Indo-Tibetan Border Police

Kolkata: After a day of turmoil, voting for the third phase of the tightly contested West Bengal assembly elections ended on Tuesday evening with a voter turnout of 77.68 per cent. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), some instances of violence and brawls were reported in a few areas and some arrests have been made.

"One incident happened in Khanakul where a candidate went to different polling stations. There was an altercation between two groups, and four were arrested. In Arambagh, another altercation took place after a candidate reached Arandi and five others were arrested," The Hooghly district and the Goghat constituency recorded the highest turnout of voters with 79.89 per cent and 84.71 per cent respectively. The districts of Howrah and South 24 Parganas registered a turnout of 77.92 per cent and 76.94 per cent respectively.

Ahead of the third phase, three EVMs and four VVPATs were found in the residence of TMC leader Gautam Ghosh. Following this, the sector officer, Tapan Kumar Sarkar, was suspended along with two assistant sector officers, Samjit Majumdar and Mithun Chakraborty. The sector police officer was also suspended and 3 home guards were demobilised.

There was also an incident where media persons and agents were barred from entering a polling booth in Hooghly's Tarakeswar constituency. BJP candidate Swapan Dasgupta alleged that state police were misusing authority.

Moreover, BJP candidate from Diamond Harbour, Dipak Haldar, also accused TMC workers of stopping people from casting votes during polling.

"TMC goons are not allowing people to cast their votes at booth number 180 and 143 Dagira Baduldanga. I have complained to the Election Commission officials," Haldar told ANI.

TMC candidate from Arambagh, Sujata Mondal Khan was allegedly attacked by BJP workers and her vehicle was vandalised by a horde of people. After this, a brawl erupted in the Poishara village of that constituency when locals objected to her visit. Meanwhile, intensifying his tirade of attacks against the TMC and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the ruling party of taking 'Bhaipo service tax' and said Banerjee is abusing him as she fears her defeat.

The Prime Minister slammed the TMC-led state government of misgovernance and accused that the conditions of MSMEs in the state have deteriorated due to the bad policies of the government.

A total of 31 Assembly constituencies in districts including eight in Hooghly, seven in Howrah and 16 in South 24 Parganas are going to polls in phase-III. There are 205 candidates in the fray in this round of polling. However, when it comes to women representation, there are only 13 women candidates contesting in this phase, merely six per cent.

Polling for the first two phases of the West Bengal elections was held on March 27 and April 1 respectively. The fourth phase of polling will take place on April 10. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal