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Nearly 17% polling on 8 Bengal seats till 9 a.m.


IANS Kolkata
An overall 16.90 per cent people cast their votes in the fourth phase of polling in West Bengal's eight Lok Sabha constituencies till 9 a.m. on Monday, amid reports of sporadic violence and vandalism.
Voting started at 7 a.m. and will continue till 6 p.m.
Some 1,34,56,491 electorate will decide the fate of 68 candidates in 15,277 polling stations spread over Baharampur, Krishnanagar, Ranaghat, Burdwan East, Burdwan-Durgapur, Asansol, Birbhum and Bolpur constituencies. Fifty-nine of the candidates are men and nine women.
The Election Commission has deployed 561 companies of Central Paramilitary Forces at 98 per cent booths to ensure foolproof security.
The polling percentage was the highest in Bardhaman East (18.24 per cent), followed by Baharampur (18.10), Asansol (17.53), Bolpur (17.39), Krishnanagar (17.27), Ranaghat (16.94), Bardhaman-Durgapur (16.12) and Birbhum (13.61).
Incidents of violence, vandalism and booth capturing were reported several constituencies since morning.
Union Minister and Asansol's BJP candidate Babul Supriyo's car was vandalised allegedly by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate outside a polling station in Barabani. Supriyo, however, was unharmed in the incident.
"TMC supporters did not allow our polling agent to sit in a booth in Barabani. Babulda asked the presiding officer to make him sit in the booth. While he was coming back, Trinamool activists surrounded his car and started pelting stones. The rear glass of the car was broken," a BJP leader told IANS.
In the Baharampur Lok Sabha constituency, sitting MP and senior Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury accused TMC workers of stopping voters from coming to the polling stations in certain areas.
Booth capturing and intimidating of voters was also reported from at least three booths in Birbhum district's Rampurhat.
Opposition parties alleged that the ruling party goons were attacking women voters and physically assaulting them on their way to the polling booths. Central Force personnel rushed to the spot and dispersed the crowd.
Leading the pack of star constituencies is Asansol, where Union Minister and sitting BJP MP Babul Supriyo is contesting against TMC's Moon Moon Sen. CPI-M, which has its pockets of support in the constituency, is also in fray.
In neighbouring Burdwan-Durgapur, Union Minister and BJP's Darjeeling MP S.S. Ahluwalia is locking horns with incumbent TMC MP Mumtaz Sanghamitra.
In Baharampur, former Union Minister Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is attempting a fifth term, while Krishnanagar is set for an absorbing tussle between erstwhile investment banker Mahua Moitra of the Trinamool and BJP contestant former India soccer goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey.
In the last general election, the Trinamool romped to victory in half a dozen seats with the BJP and the Congress winning one each.
The subsequent phases of polling will be held on May 6, 12 and 19. Polling for the Cooch Behar and Alipurduar constituencies took place in the first phase on April 11, while Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raiganj voted on April 18. In the third phase, on April 23, Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur and Murshidabad went to the hustings.
The vote count is on May 23.

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 11:50 AM IST

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