Stage set for final phase of polling in Bengal

Stage set for final phase of polling in Bengal

Kolkata:People stand in a queue at a polling station to cast their vote at Kolkata Port Constituency during the 7th phase of State Assembly election in Kolkata on April 26, 2021.(Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)|People watch the counting of votes cast. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

Kolkata, April 28 (IANS) The month-long eight-phase Assembly elections in West Bengal, which began on March 27, will come to an end on Thursday evening with the completion of the eighth and final round of polling. In the last phase, 8,493,255 people spread across 35 Assembly constituencies are expected to exercise their franchise to elect their representatives from a total of 283 candidates. In the last phase on Thursday, 11 Assembly constituencies each in Birbhum and Murshidabad, seven in North Kolkata and six seats in Malda will go to the polls. An analysis of the Assembly seats on the parameters of 2019 Lok Sabha elections shows that Trinamool Congress had a lead in 19 constituencies, BJP had an edge in 11 constituencies and the rest of the five seats were in control of the Congress. The Left Front hardly had any impression in these 35 seats. The total number of voters, including service electorate, in these constituencies is 8,493,255, including 4,370,693 males and 4,122,403 females. There are 11,860 polling booths spread across 5,837 polling stations, of which 9,216 are main booths and the rest 2,644 are auxiliary booths. The number of 80 plus voters is 112,440 while 72,094 are persons with disabilities. The total number of service electorate in this phase is 14,981, while 159 are third gender voters and 10 are overseas voters. The Election Commission has already announced that polling in Booth No. 126 in the Sitalkuchi Assembly constituency in Cooch Behar, where elections were suspended following the killing of four persons during the polling in the fourth phase on April 10, will be held on Thursday. The EC has announced that 5,433 booths are extremely sensitive where 24 general observers, nine expenditure observers and nine police observers have been deployed for the eighth phase. There will be webcasting facilities in 55.65 per cent of the booths and micro-observers will be deployed in 20 per cent of the booths. The Commission has deployed 646 companies of central forces for the last phase of polling with Birbhum having the highest deployment of 225 companies for its 11 constituencies. A total of 215 companies of central forces will be used for the 11 constituencies in Murshidabad, 110 companies for the six constituencies in Malda, while North Kolkata will have the lowest deployment of 96 companies for its seven constituencies. Though 11,860 booths will be manned by 646 companies with an average of 5.4 companies per booth, individually, Murshidabad will have the highest concentration of 5.9 personnel per booth for its 3,796 booths followed by Birbhum that will have a concentration of 5.7 personnel per booth for its 3,908 booths. There will be 5.3 personnel per booth for the 2,073 booths in Malda. North Kolkata will have the lowest concentration of only 4.6 personnel per booth for its 2,083 booths. Sources in the EC said that the rest of the 107 companies of central forces will be used primarily for the manning of the strong rooms and maintaining law and order in the districts where there are no elections.

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