As 45 seats in six districts of West Bengal went to polls in the fifth phase of Assembly elections in the state on Saturday, a voter turnout of 78.36% was recorded till 5.45 pm. This phase is the largest in terms of the number of seats going to polls.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah both held rallies on Saturday. On Friday evening, the Election Commission had ordered a 72-hour “silence period”, instead of the usual 48 hours. The poll body also said that, in view of the Covid-19 situation, election rallies and meetings will not be allowed between 7 pm and 10 am.
Sporadic incidents of clashes between Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party supporters were reported from some parts of the state during the fifth phase of voting.
Meanwhile, a BJP candidate polling agent died at a booth in Kamarhati town. The death was not caused by any incident of violence and the Election Commission has sought a report on the matter.
A total of 5,319 candidates are in fray, including state ministers Bratya Basu and Gautam Deb. Among Bharatiya Janata Party candidates, Jagannath Sarkar, one of the five MPs fielded by the party, is up in the contention.
8.01 pm: Polling has ended peacefully, says the Election Commission.
7.59 pm: Prime Minister Modi, while campaigning today in Asansol, says he “has never seen such huge crowds at a rally”, reports NDTV.
This comes while India is battling a huge increase in coronavirus cases.
7 pm: According to the Election Commission, around 78.36% of the electorate has voted till 5.45 pm.
5.19 pm: Voters seen lining up outside a booth in Bidhannagar area in North 24 Parganas district, reports ANI.
5.13 pm: BJP leader Amit Shah says only his party can stop infiltration in West Bengal, reports ANI. “I came here today after travelling all over Bengal,” he says at a poll rally in I can tell you, Didi is certainly going on May 2 [results day] and BJP is forming the government with more than 200 seats.”
5.06 pm: As of 5 pm, a voter turnout of 69.40% has been recorded, according to the Election Commission. Among the six districts going to polls, Jalpaiguri has reported the largest figure (74.71%), followed by Nadia (72.68%) and Purba Bardhaman (72.21%).
3.24 pm: Trinamool Congress writes to the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal, complaining about a leaked audio clip of a telephonic conversation purportedly between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and TMC leader Partha Pratim Ray, reports ANI. The clip was released and played by the Bharatiya Janata Party during a press conference on April 16.
TMC says the purported conversation has been “illegally and unlawfully” recorded at the behest of the BJP.
3.20 pm: Modi also accuses Banerjee of being insensitive towards the culture and traditions of the people of Gangarampur, according to News18. “Gangarampur has two holy names, that define our culture, in its own name,” he says. “But it seems Didi hates names of both lord Ram and river Ganga. She abuses Indians living in areas near river Ganga. She insults their beliefs, food, language and clothes.”
3.18 pm: At a rally in Gangarampur city of West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s “day is not complete without abusing” him, reports PTI.
3.14 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Bidhan Nagar seat, Sabyasachi Dutta, alleges that he was stopped by some “TMC goons” in Nayapatti area, reports ANI.
1.27 pm: A voter turnout of 53.29% has been recorded till 1.26 pm, according to the Election Commission. Jalpaiguri district has reported the highest figure (59.40%), followed by Purba Bardhaman (58.13%) and Nadia (57.68%).
1.13 pm: Sporadic incidents of clashes has been reported from some parts of West Bengal, including Shantinagar area of Bidhannagar, Siliguri, Nadia district and Bijpur in North 24 parganas, reports PTI, citing officials.
10.37 am: Voter turnout of 16.27% has been recorded till 10.30 am, according to Election Commission data. Here is the district-wise breakup:
10.36 am: Overall situation is peaceful in the morning hours of polling in fifth phase of West Bengal elections, reports PTI, quoting an official at the office of the chief electoral officer.
10.28 am: A Bharatiya Janata Party polling agent dies inside booth number 107 under Kamarhati Assembly segment, while polling was underway, reports The Hindu. The chief electoral officer has sought a report on the death.
“His name is Abhijeet Samant,” the brother of the deceased told ANI. “Nobody helped him, there is no facility for treatment here.”
8.31 am: TMC leader Madan Mitra votes in Kamarhati.
8.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges voters to turn up in large numbers.
7.17 am: On Friday evening, the Election Commission ordered fresh guidelines in view of the escalating coronavirus crisis.
7.13 am: Voters line up at Kamarhati constituency for the fifth phase of voting.
7.12 am: A total of 5,319 candidates are in fray, including state ministers Bratya Basu and Gautam Deb. Among Bharatiya Janata Party candidates, Jagannath Sarkar, one of the five MPs fielded by the party, is up in the contention.
7.11 am: Voting begins in 45 seats of West Bengal in the fifth phase of Assembly elections, reports ANI.