The Election Commission of India said that 81.25% of the electorate voted in the fifth phase of West Bengal's Assembly elections. Amid heavy security cover, there were still a few instances of violence reported, including a clash at Arambag in Hoogly, where one Left party worker was injured after party cadre accused a Trinamool Congress worker of not allowing people to vote, ANI said. A civic police volunteer also died in an explosion in Beldanga, Murshidabad, early on Saturday.
The Election Commission ordered an FIR against TMC leader, and deputy speaker of the current state Assembly, Sonali Guha after she was found ordering party workers to beat up Left party polling agents. Guha alleged that an electronic voting machine had been tampered with by Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers, after which she made the comments.
The 53 seats that went to the polls on Saturday are spread across the districts of Hoogly, South 24 Parganas and South Kolkata. An electorate of 1.2 crore is eligible to cast its vote for the 349 candidates contesting in this phase of the polls. Among them are state ministers and Trinamool biggies Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Kolkata mayor Sovon Chatterjee and Iqbal Ahmed, who were among those allegedly seen accepting bribes in the Narada News sting operation videos.
The Bhawanipur seat is at the centre of attention in this phase of voting – Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of the ruling Trinamool Congress is competing for it against Union minister and Congress candidate Deepa Dasmunsi, and against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Chandra Bose, who is the grandnephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. This, according to analysts, makes Phase V the most critical of the six-phase elections in West Bengal, The Hindu reported.
As many as 800 hamlets were identified as “vulnerable” and 1,467 booths as “sensitive” in this phase, a senior Kolkata police officer said. To avoid the violence that tainted Phase III of the elections, 90,000 personnel of central and state police forces were deployed ahead of the elections, and Section 144, which prohibits the assembly of more than 10 people in an area, was enforced in all the poll-bound constituencies, dna reported.