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Bengal records 66.34 pc votes till 3 PM

Bengal records 66.34 pc votes till 3 PM

Kolkata, Apr 19 (UNI) An estimated 66.34 percent of 5.6 million electorate exercised their franchise till 3 PM in the first phase election to three Lok Sabha seats in North Bengal with Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri recording 65.54 per cent, 66.23 per cent and 67.28 per cent polling respectively.
Only Tripura with 68.35 per cent polling is ahead of Bengal in terms of votes cast so far in the country.
Meanwhile, Poll Panel has received in all 468 complaints up to 2 PM with 218 from Cooch Behar, 150 from Alipurduar and 100 from Jalpaiguri.
Delhi poll panel has also sought report as to why state police had stopped BJP MLA Shikha Chatterjee's car at Dubgram.She is an MLA from Datagram Pool Bari under Jalpaiguri district.
A total of 27,63,506 women is expected to exercise their constitutional rights to elect their representatives from among 30 odd contestants in some 5814 booths until 5 PM.
About 250 companies of armed central forces were deployed and some 10,000 state police personnel have been posted to ensure peaceful and fair polling.
Thirteen extra CAPF companies were put on reserve to be used in case of any exigency. Poll officials and election observers are monitoring the voting process in the field with no major incident reported so far.
The Election Commission has restricted Bengal minister Udayan Guha to his Dinhata segment after Cooch Behar's BJP contestant Nishith Pramanik appealed to the poll panel against his alleged intimidation. Guha was seen at the Dinhata police station this morning to complain an alleged attack on the TMC block president at Jenkins High School in Dinhata.
Though the contest is said to be multi-cornered, real fight is restricted between state ruling Trinamool Congress and main opposition - the Bharatiya Janata Party. The latter won all the three seats in 2019 Lok Sabha poll.
The Left Front and Congress are among other political parties, in the run up. The majority of the candidates are Independents.
The contest is expected to be between Union Minister Pramanik and TMC's Jagadish Chandra Barma Basunia in the Cooch Behar seat, in Alipurduar between Monoj Tigga (BJP) and TMC's Prakash Chik Baraik, and in Jalpaiguri between Jayanta Kumar Roy of BJP and Nirmal Chandra Roy from the ruling party.
Nishith Pramanik exercised his franchise in the first phase polling.
Pramanik accused State Minister Udayan Guha of fomenting violence, saying Guha knows it fully well that the Trinamool Congress is going to lick dust.
He said, " Whatever the electorate will decide, we are going to accept. "
Guha accused the poll officials of "siding" with the BJP.
He said he has never seen that the central forces have been deployed a month before the polling day.
Meanwhile, reports of stray violent incidents have been reported from Sitalkuchi, Mathabhanga, Sitai and elsewhere.
There has been no report of any untoward incident from a single polling booth, being guarded by armed central forces.
State Minister Shashi Panja said, " Looks like @BJP4Bengal is living up to the saying "empty vessels make the most sound"! Manoj Tigga couldn't even muster a single polling agent in his own booth in Alipurduar? Where's the hiding place now? Empty booths or empty excuses? "
Another State Minister Bratya Basu said, " What did @BJP4India want? Unleash ED-CBI, eliminate opposition & win on an empty field. What did BJP get? *Not one BJP polling agent appeared at the booth of their MP candidate, Manoj Tigga! People's support for us is MIGHTIER than your Central Agencies. Proved once again! "
State Finance Minister said Chandrima Bhattacharya said, " Manoj Tigga, BJP's MP candidate from Alipurduars, failed to rally a single BJP polling agent in his own booth. Looks like the BJP's plan to eliminate opposition and win on an EMPTY FIELD backfired, as they were met with EMPTY BOOTHS instead. "
The voting process commenced at 7 AM under a tight security arrangement.

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