Around 9,400 new Indian citizens from the district of Cooch Behar cast their vote for the first time in the final phase of polling for the West Bengal elections on Thursday, the Election Commission said. The polls marked a historic beginning for the residents of former Bangladeshi enclaves in Cooch Behar, who had lived in a stateless existence since the Partition. In June last year, they were incorporated as Indian citizens, after India and Bangladesh ratified a land swap.
By 5 pm, 84.2% of the electorate had come out to vote at the polling booths. More than 58 lakh people were registered to vote in the 25 constituencies spanning the Cooch Behar and East Midnapore district. There are 6,774 polling stations, and 170 candidates were contesting the seats. Only 18 of these candidates were female.
FIRs were registered against two Trinamool Congress candidates in Cooch Behar for allegedly interfering with the electoral process and threatening polling personnel, reported PTI. Rabindranath Ghosh and Udyan Guha violated the rules by entering the voting compartment when polling was going on, EC officials said.
The Trinamool Congress currently holds all 16 seats in East Midnapore and four of Cooch Behar’s nine constituencies. However, with the Congress-Left alliance giving them some jitters, party chief Mamata Banerjee spent two days campaigning in Cooch Behar. Trinamool won 39% of the vote in the two districts in 2011, but the Left had 41% and the Congress nearly 9%.