61 per cent polling till 3 pm in West Bengal

Kolkata, Apr 18: Over 60 per cent of the voters today (April 18) exercised their franchise till 3 pm in 54 Assembly constituencies in North Bengal in the first phase of polling, with no report of any untoward incident.

"Polling was 61 per cent till 3 pm. There is no report of any untoward incident so far," Election Commission office sources said here.

Coochbehar district had the highest turnout at 66 per cent while the lowest of 57 per cent was recorded in North Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri, they said.

Polling in Darjeeling district was 64 per cent, Malda 59 per cent and South Dinajpur 60 per cent.

"The polling is peaceful," Additional Chief Electoral officer N K Sahana told PTI.

Security personnel lathi-charged photo journalists when they followed minister Sailen Sarkar inside a booth at the Malda Women's College in Malda district ignoring a warning not to do so, official sources said.

The presiding officer of a polling booth in Hariram constituency in South Dinajpur district was removed for speaking to minister Narayan Biswas over phone, he said.

Presiding officer of a booth at Kumargram in Jalpaiguri district, Maheswar Rai, suffered a heart attack and was rushed to Alipurduar Hospital.

An electorate of 97.42 lakh will decide the fate of 364 candidates including 11 ministers - Ashok Bhattacharya, Kshiti Goswami, Biswanath Chowdhury, Kironmoy Nanda, Narayan Biswas and Srikumar Mukherjee.

Congress leader Debaprasad Roy and Trinamool Congress Darjeeling district president Gautam Deb are also in the fray.


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