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More than 70 per cent polling in Bengal amid high sequrity

By Staff
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Kolkata, Apr 17 (UNI) Virtually rejecting the Maoist poll boycott call, more than 70 per cent voters of the 3.2 million electorate exercised their right to franchise in the first phase of polling for 45 seats in the three South Bengal districts till 1700 hrs in the Assembly elections in West Bengal today held under an unprecedented security.

This was the first round of voting in the state which will have a five-phased election.

''Overall more than 70 per cent people have cast their votes. The polling was paceful and spontaneous. We are happy,'' Chief Electoral officer Debasish Sen said.

Briefing reporters, the CEO said neither was there any complaint of rigging from anywhere nor was there any law and order problem.

Giving districtwise break-up, Mr Sen said Bankura recorded 75 per cent polling, while 73 per cent people cast votes in West Midnapore and 65 per cent polling was reported from Purulia district.

However, repolling would be held in two booths in Bankura because of the technical snag in the EVMs.

Admiting that a number of booths in Keshpur of West Midnapore district recorded more than 95 per cent polling, the CEO said the EC had asked the Returning Officer and the observer concerned to scrutinise relevant documents and decide by tomorrow whether repolling would be held.

''According to a standing order of the EC, the RO and the observers are supposed to take decision on repolling in booths recording more than 80 per cent polling after scrutinising forms 17 A and 17 C that keep records of voters identification and turnout,'' he said.

Large number of voters thronged the booths at Chhoto Angaria and Salboni of West Midnapore and Purulia's Bandwan, where the extremists had killed CPI(M) leader Rabindranath Kar and triggered a landmine blast.

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