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An estimated 70 per cent turnout recorded in Bengal polling

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, Apr 27 (UNI) About 70 per cent electorate today exercised their franchise as Kolkata and its adjoining North and South Twentyfour Parganas districts witnessed an eventless and peaceful third phase polling amid high security and glare of the Election Commission.

Election office sources said while Kolkata recorded about 60 per cent polling, 74 per cent votes were polled in South Twentyfour Parganas and 75 per cent in North Twentyfour Parganas.

At several booths, polling was continuing beyond the deadline of 1700 hours, indicating that the turnout might go up later.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Debasish Sen said polling was still going on in several areas with a large number of voters still waiting outside the booths.

" The polling was smooth and peaceful everywhere. I have not received any major complaint, " he said.

Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee said altogether 154 people had been arrested in the city for disorderly behaviour and there was no report of any violence.

However, at least six CPI(M) and three Forward Bloc workers were arrested from Bijpur and Jagatdal Assembly constituencies respectively for allegedly intimidating voters.

Tension ran high in front of a polling booth at Haltu in Jadavpur constituency, from where Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is seeking reelection, when a fire cracker was burst which the voters mistook for a bomb explosion.

The panicked people, standing in queues, ran helter skelter as the security force jawans rushed out to nab two persons for the mischief.

Additional polling officer in booth number 97 at Malatipur polling station in Basirhat constituency Tapan Orao died of heart attack while on duty.

The police official, who fell sick during the polling hours, died on way to the sub-divisional hospital.

The fate of 473 candidates, including 36 women, was at stake in this phase.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee cast his vote in a South Kolkata booth.

His predecessor Jyoti Basu, Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta, Transport Minister Subhash Chakraborty, Left Front Committee Chairman Biman Bose, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, former Kolkata Corporation Mayor Subrata Mukherjee and former Congress president Somen Mitra were among the other prominent voters.

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