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West Bengal polls phase-4 largely peaceful

Raktima Bose

KOLKATA: Barring reports of minor trouble, the fourth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections involving 63 Assembly constituencies on Tuesday was largely peaceful.

The average voter turnout was high at 85.3 per cent (till 9 p.m.) – a few notches higher than that in the 2006 Assembly elections when it was 83.19 per cent, according to the Election Commission.

The enthusiasm of voters in areas that have a recent history of strife such as Nandigram and Khejuri in Purba Medinipur district and Goghat and Arambag in Hooghly district was evident with the average voter turn-out in these places exceeding 88 per cent.

More than 1.26 crore voters decided the fate of 366 candidates, including seven State Ministers, in Assembly constituencies spread over the three districts of Purba Medinipur, Howrah, Hooghly and parts of Bardhaman district where polling was held.

Some of the important candidates who were in fray were State's Industries Minister Nirupam Sen, Agriculture Minister Naren Dey, Higher Education Minister Sudarshan Roy Chowdhury and three former IPS officers fielded by the Trinamool Congress — Sultan Singh, Hyder Ali Safwi and Rachpal Singh. Though there was no report of any major law and order incident or disruption of polls during the day, isolated allegations of voters being intimidated, candidates being assaulted and the slow pace of voting in some booths kept pouring in from all the four districts.

“The fourth phase elections were by and large peaceful other than a few minor incidents. Strict and adequate security arrangements were made in all sensitive areas to avoid any disturbance and every complaint received during the day were looked into promptly and action taken immediately,” Sunil Gupta, the State's Chief Electoral Officer, said here.

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