Bengal holds third phase of elections (Lead)

April 27th, 2011 - 11:01 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Kolkata, April 27 (IANS) People queued up outside polling booths in large numbers as voting began in 75 constituencies of three districts, including this metropolis, in the third phase of West Bengal elections Wednesday.

A total of 14,419,669 people in Kolkata and the neighbouring districts of North and South 24-Parganas are eligible to elect their representatives from among 479 contestants - many of them stars from the field of politics and other walks of life - including Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

“Polling started at 7 a.m. and is on peacefully. There are no reports of any untoward incidents,” said an officer manning the city and state police control rooms.

Kolkata has 11 constituencies, North 24-Parganas has 33 while South 24-Parganas 31.

The three districts, include the cosmopolitan industrial belt spread across Kolkata, besides the populated areas of world’s largest mangrove forest Sundarbans.

Main opposition Trinamool Congress has high stakes in this round, with the area regarded as its citadel going by the last poll results. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Trinamool and its alliance partner Socialist Unity Centre of India-Communist nominees were ahead in 66 of the 75 assembly segments.

Other than Bhattacharjee, the fate of 11 other state ministers, including Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta, Housing Minister Gautam Deb, Transport Minister Ranjit Kundu, Leader of the Opposition Partha Chatterjee, Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) secretary general Amit Mitra, will be decided in 17,792 polling booths.

A number of celebrities nominated by the Trinamool, including film stars Debashree Roy, Chiranjeet (Dipak) Chakroborty, theatre personality Bratya Basu, and singer Anup Ghoshal are also trying their luck in the third phase.

Ruling Left Front major Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is contesting in 61 constituencies, the Forward Bloc seven, Communist Party of India and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) three each, the Trinamool 70 and the Congress in five.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has put up candidates in all the 75 constituencies, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 51.

Over 600 companies of security forces have been deployed and more than 3,000 polling stations have been identified as super sensitive. Around 1.4 lakh people have been identified as vulnerable to threats from miscreants.

Polls to the 294-member assembly, which started April 18, will end May 10. The counting of votes will take place May 13.

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