(Rephrasing para 1)
Kolkata, May 2 (UNI) More than 9.3 million people are expected to exercise their franchise in three West Bengal districts tomorrow as the state braces up for the fourth and penultimate phase Assembly election in a marathon schedule.
Polling will be held in 57 constituencies of Bardhaman, Birbhum and Murshidabad districts, where 288 candidates, including 20 women, are in the fray.
Prominent among the aspirants are Animal Resources Minister Anisur Rehman, Power Minister Mrinal Banerjee and Industries Minister Nirupam Sen, contesting as Left Front nominees and Congress candidates Habibur Rehman and CLP leader Atish Sinha.
With the Election Commission carrying out an intensive revision of electoral rolls, a whopping 2.55 lakh names had been deleted from the voters list in these three districts.
Altogether 400 companies of paramilitary jawans have been deployed to man all the 10,436 polling booths spread over 26 constituencies in Burdwan, 19 in Murshidabad and 12 in Birbhum.
Vigil has been heightened in the inter-state border between Jharkhand and the two districts of Burdwan and Murshidabad to prevent infiltration of miscreants and smuggling of arms.
A total of 12,619 EVMs will be used in the elections, while the sensitive booths will come under the scanner of close circuit cameras.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Debasish Sen said 95 to 97 per cent of the voters in these three districts had been covered by the Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) programme and the rest would be photographed inside the booths with the help of digital cameras.
With a slow pace of polling being reported from many places during polling in the first three phases, the EC decided to press into service additonal polling officers from the fourth pahse onward to cope with the rush.
The average polling in the first three phases, which ended peacefully, was 78 per cent.
While, Murshidabad has traditionally been a Congress stronghold, Burdwan, the rice bowl of Bengal and Birbhum are dominated by the Left.
The Kandi seat in Murshidabad has the highest number of 11 contestants, while Domkal, Asansol, Raigunj, Galsi, Burdwan South, Kandakosh, Ketugram and Nanur constituencies have only three nominees each.
While, Durgapur-II seat has the largest number of voters-- 261664 -- Hirapur has the smallest number with only 136100 - strong electorate.
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