Baichung Bhutia
Voting is underway in 56 constituencies on West Bengal on Sunday for the second second phase of the 2016 Assembly elections. Security has been tightened in areas affected by left-wing extremism. Picture: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee with footballer turned politician Baichung Bhutia during an election campaign in Siliguri on March 14, 2016.IANS

April 18, 2016

UPDATE: 9:36 a.m. IST — Nearly 80 per cent turnout was recorded in the second phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections held on Sunday, Indo-Asian News Service reported. "At 5 p.m., the overall polling percentage was 79.70 percent," an Election Commission official said.

April, 17, 2016

UPDATE: 12:24 p.m. IST —  At least seven people, including two CPI(M) polling agents and three BJP agents, were injured in incidents of violence in Birbhum district after the voting began on Sunday, Hindustan Times reported. They were rushed to Siyan hospital.

The injured persons alleged that they were attacked by Trinamool supporters at Nanoor and Ilambazar. The police arrested three Trinamool workers. In another incident at Domrut village in Ilambazar, a group of men armed with lathis and iron rods reportedly chased away central forces.

Original Story —

Voting for the second phase of West Bengal Assembly elections in 56 constituencies began on Sunday. Security has been tightened in areas affected by left-wing extremism.

As many as 1.22 crore people will cast their votes across 13,645 polling stations, Indo-Asian News Service reported. A total of 383 candidates, including 33 women, from all parties are contesting for the 56 seats.

The voting started at 7 a.m. and will end at 6 p.m. in all the constituencies, except seven left-wing extremism affected constituencies — Dubrajpur, Suri, Nalhati, Rampurhat, Sainthia, Hansan and Murarai in Birbhum district. There, the polling will conclude at 4 p.m., the Press Trust of India reported.

Other districts where elections are being held on Sunday are Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur, Darjeeling, South Dinajpur and Malda.

The Trinamool Congress is contesting in 55 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party in 53, the Congress in 23, Left Front in 34 and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in three. Former Indian football captain and Trinamool candidate Baichung Bhutia is contesting against CPI-M member Asok Bhattacharya in Darjeeling district's Siliguri.

Some other candidates include state ministers Gautam Deb, Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury and Sabitri Mitra, singers Suman Banerjee and Soumitra Ray and actors Joy Banerjee and Locket Chatterjee.

The central and state police forces have been deployed within the premises of all the polling booths. Quick response teams, flying squads, sector forces and mobile high radio flying squads have also been sent to the constituencies, PTI quoted Election Commission officials as saying.

The Assembly elections for 294 seats in West Bengal will be held in six phases this year. The first phase was held in two parts on April 4 and 11 in 49 constituencies. Polling in the remaining constituencies will be held on April 21, 25, 30 and May 5.

The counting of the votes will begin on May 19 and the entire election process will be completed by May 21, according to the Election Commission of India.


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