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Mindboggling turnout mark fourth phase polls in Bengal

By Staff
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Kolkata, May 3 (UNI) About 80 per cent of the 9.3 million electorate exercised their franchise in a massive turnout that defied the deadline in three West Bengal districts in the fourth and penultimate phase of Assembly elections today.

Chief Electoral Officer(CEO) Debasish Sen said the polling was peaceful and it was still continuing in many areas with the voters waiting in long queues in front of booths.

Mr Sen said according to preliminary information, an overall 76 per cent votes were polled till 1700 hrs in the three districts, though reports were yet to reach from many areas.

However, official reports received from districts said Birbhum and Burdwan recorded about 83 and 79 per cent turnout respectively, while Murshidabad accounted for around 75 per cent.

The CEO said polling was boycotted by the local people in seven booths over several demands while snag in Electronic Voting Machines caused delay or suspension in polling in 40 booths.

A polling officer was withdrawn from duty at Burdwan's Bhatar allegedly for encouraging voters to vote in favour of a political party, while altogether five people were been arrested in connection with various charges of violating election rules, he said.

While congratulating the people for a peacceful, free and fair polling, Left Front Committee Chairman Biman Bose claimed the ruling coalition would increase the number of seats in these three districts.

He, however, alleged that several thousand genuine voters, having photo identity cards, could not vote as their names did not figure on the electoral rolls.

Mr Bose also alleged that the Expenditure Observer for Murshidabad had disallowed a CPI(M) candidate from entering a booth and said the EC representative did not have any such power in his present capacity.

Braving an average temperature of 44 degrees Celsius, voters turned up in huge numbers in front of most of the booths in all the three districts and waited in queues patiently.

Overflowing enthusiasm of electorate marked even all the posh areas with people from all walks of life coming out to vote ignoring the scorching sun.

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UNI KDG BA YA ND2008

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