The countdown to second phase of polling has begun in West Bengal and Assam. A total of 30 assembly constituencies from the districts of South 24 Parganas, Bankura, Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur are heading in to vote. Moreover, there are 171 candidates in the fray in phase-II of West Bengal polls, out of which 152 candidates are men while only 19 are women. Among these candidates, two are undoubtedly the most prominent figures — Mamata Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikari. Today, Nandigram will witness the most high-profile contest where Banerjee and Adhikari are taking on each other. On March 31, the Election Commission has imposed Section 144 in Nandigram, ahead of the high-stakes second phase of assembly elections.
80.43 per cent voter turnout has been recorded in Bengal and 77.21 per cent has been recorded in Assam.
On the other hand, the polling for the second phase of the three-phased assembly elections in Assam is taking place for a total of 39 assembly constituencies spanned over 13 districts of the Barak Valley, three hill districts, and parts of central and lower Assam. While more than 75 lakh voters will decide the fate of 191 candidates in West Bengal, over 73.44 lakh voters will choose between 345 candidates in Assam. Among those contesting the elections in this phase are five ministers and the deputy speaker of the outgoing House.
The polling will continue till 6 pm as the duration has been extended by an hour to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
Long queues were seen outside polling stations, where voting will continue till 6.30 pm.
More than 75 lakh voters will decide the fate of 191 candidates in 30 constituencies, as eyes are set on Nandigram where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting against her former lieutenant and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari.
The Election Commission has declared all the 10,620 polling booths as sensitive and deployed around 651 companies of central forces, apart from the state police, to provide security.
A total of 210 companies of central armed police forces have been deployed in Paschim Medinipur, 199 in Purba Medinipur, 170 in South 24 Parganas and 72 in Bankura, the officials said.
TMC and BJP are contesting all 30 seats, while the CPI(M) is in the fray in 15 constituencies and its alliance partners Congress and ISF are fighting in 13 and two seats, respectively, they said.
The elections for the 294 assembly seats in West Bengal are being held in eight phases. The votes will be counted on May 2.
Over 73.44 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in 10,592 polling stations spread over 13 districts in the Barak Valley, the hill regions and parts of central and lower Assam.
A total of 310 companies of security forces have been deployed to carry out strict vigil and prevent any untoward incident.
Around 42,368 polling personnel have been deployed, of whom 1,516 were dispatched two days in advance to far-flung areas, particularly in Dima Hasao and East and West Karbi Anglong district, the officials said.
The ruling BJP is contesting 34 seats, while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is fighting in six constituencies and the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) in three.
The BJP is engaged in friendly fights with the AGP in Patharkandi and Algapur and the UPPL in Majbat and Kalaigaon.
In the 'Mahajot' (Grand Alliance), the Congress is contesting in 28, the AIUDF in seven and the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) in four.
The newly-floated Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) is contesting in 19 seats.
There is a direct contest between the NDA and the Grand Alliance in 25 seats, while the rest of the constituencies are witnessing a triangular fight.
The three-phase elections to the 126-member assembly began on March 27 for 47 constituencies, registering a voter turnout of 79.97 per cent.
The third and final phase of the elections to the 40 seats will be held on April 6. The votes will be counted on May 2.
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