53 per cent polling in first seven hours of voting in WB

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Voting
Kolkata, April 23: Fifty-three per cent polling was recorded till 2 pm during voting in 50 Assembly constituencies spread over three districts of West Bengal today (April 23). Birbhum district recorded the highest turnout at 54 per cent, closely followed by Nadia with 53 per cent and Murshidabad with 52 per cent.

"Polling was 53 per cent till 2:00 pm. Polling was more or less peaceful," Election Commission office sources said here.

Two presiding officers were removed following allegation of influencing voters and an election agent of CPI(M) detained for interrogation after postal ballots were recovered from him, the sources said here.

The presiding officer of booth number 2 of Bharatpur assembly constituency in Murshidabad and a presiding officer of booth number 101 in Ranaghat (South) constituency in Nadia district were removed and replaced by new presiding officers, Additional Chief Electoral Officer N K Sahana said.

A CPI(M) election agent in Palashipara Assembly constituency in Nadia district was detained by the police after 25 postal ballot papers were recovered from him, an election commission official said.

An electorate of 93.33 lakh will decide the fate of 293 candidates in the second phase of the polls.

Prominent candidates whose fate will be decided are Abhijit Mukherjee, son of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee contesting from Nalhati, former high court judge Nure Alam Chowdhury, a Trinamool Congress candidate contesting from Murarai, Rukbanur Rahman, brother of late computer graphics teacher Rizwanur Rahman from the Chapra constituency, besides Panchayat minister and CPI(M) leader Anisur Rahaman.

The BJP has fielded candidates in all seats, followed by CPI(M) in 31, Trinamool Congress in 29, BSP in 27 and Congress in 21 seats.

Security arrangements are in place for peaceful polling in 22 constituencies in Murshidabad, 17 in Nadia and 11 in Birbhum having a total of 11,531 polling stations.

Besides the police, 4800 central security personnel have been deployed. The six-phase election will end on May 10.

PTI

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