Peaceful voting in fourth round of West Bengal polls (Third Lead)

May 3rd, 2011 - 3:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Kolkata, May 3 (IANS) Singur and Nandigram voted peacefully Tuesday as 58 percent polling was recorded till 1 p.m. in the fourth phase of West Bengal assembly elections for 63 constituencies spread over four districts.

Elections are being held in three districts - Howrah, Hooghly and East Midnapore - and parts of Burdwan, with an electorate of around 1.26 crore set to choose representatives from among 366 candidates.

Hooghly has 18 seats, Howrah and East Midnapore 16 each. Voting is being held in 13 of the 25 seats in Burdwan district.

Crucial rural belts like Hooghly district’s Singur and Nandigram in East Midnapore saw high polling with no report of any violence.

There was a vote boycott in two booths of Amta in Howrah district over local issues.

“Till 1 p.m., 58 percent polling was recorded,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer N.K. Sahana told IANS. Voting began at 7 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m.

“At least 54 electronic voting machines had to be replaced after they developed mechanical snags,” Sahana said.

Two presiding officers - one in the Arambagh area of Hooghly district and another in Burdwan - were removed following allegations of partiality, he said.

A Trinamool Congress polling agent was arrested when he arrived at a polling booth in East Midnapore district as he had a pending non-bailable warrant against him, an official said.

“Voting is on peacefully. There are no reports of any untoward incidents,” said an official at the state police control room here.

There are 15,711 polling booths out of which about 5,000 have been declared super sensitive.

Among the star candidates in the fray Tuesday are state Industries Minister Nirupam Sen, Agriculture Minister Naren Dey, Higher Education Minister Sudarshan Roy Chowdhury, Information and Culture Minister Soumendranath Bera and Fire and Emergency Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is contesting from 46 constituencies, the Communist Party of India (CPI) six, Trinamool Congress 59, Congress four, Forward Bloc seven, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 63.

Singur had witnessed violent protests by the Trinamool-led opposition between 2006 and 2008, as they encashed on the peasants’ resentment against land acquired by the state government for Tata Motors’ Nano small car project. The company later shifted the plant to Gujarat.

In Nandigram likewise, the government’s abortive bid to set up a chemical hub had triggered violence.

In the first three phases of elections, polling was conducted in 12 districts covering 179 of the state’s 294 assembly seats.

The six-phased polls for the 294-member assembly, which started April 18, will end May 10. The counting of votes will be held May 13.

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