April 26, 2016
UPDATE: 12:22 p.m. IST — A total of 67 percent polling was recorded till 3 p.m. in two districts of West Bengal where fourth phase of Assembly elections were held on Monday, Indo-Asian News Service reported.
Original Story —
Elaborate security arrangements have been made to avoid any incidents of violence in North 24 Parganas and Howrah districts of West Bengal where voting for the fourth phase of the elections for 49 of the 294 state Assembly seats began on Monday.
As many as 1,08,16,942 electorates (including 55,74,790 male, 52,24,395 women, 112 third gender and 18,245 service voters) will cast their votes at nearly 12,481 polling booths across the constituencies.
Voting started at 7 a.m. and will get over by 6 p.m. in all the constituencies.
A total of 345 candidates, including 40 female, are in the fray for the elections. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have fielded 49 candidates each, the Congress 12, Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) 24, and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 35.
The TMC led by Mamata Banerjee had won 43 seats, the Congress two and the CPI three in the 2011 Assembly polls. The BJP is hoping to set its foot in the state with the 2016 Assembly elections.
The Election Commission ordered the deployment of at least 90,000 security personnel in North 24 Parganas and Howrah districts. In addition, 672 companies of the central police forces and around 22,000 state police personnel have been deployed across the 49 constituencies in the two districts, Press Trust of India reported.
This year's Assembly polls have been marred with violence as workers of rival parties have clashed during the polls. A CPI (M) worker was killed after a clash broke out with TMC members during the third phase of elections in Murshidabad on Thursday.
The Election Commission had also asked for riverine and night patrolling in the districts to avoid any pre-poll violence.
"Special arrangements for the fourth phase have been made. In addition to day patrolling, arrangements for night patrolling have been made as well, which started on Friday," Indo-Asian News Service quoted additional Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar as saying.
"In addition to land patrolling, riverine patrolling has been arranged since both districts are riverine," he added.
Section 144 of the CrPC will also imposed in all the constituencies to prevent gathering of five or more persons at a place.
The six-phase Assembly elections in West Bengal began on April 4 when the first part of the first phase was conducted, while the second part of the first phase was held on April 11. The second phase was held on April 17, the fourth is being held on April 25, while the fifth and sixth phases will be held on April 30 and May 5, respectively.
Vote counting will begin on May 19 and all the elections procedures will be completed by May 21, according to the Election Commission of India.