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Polling hours reduced in Bengal's Maoist-hit areas

By Ians

West Bengal
Kolkata, April 13: Polling will end two hours early in six assembly segments of two Lok Sabha constituencies in Maoist-affected areas of West Bengal, an Election Commission official said Saturday.

In a bid to prevent any untoward incident in the Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) hit areas, the six segments located in Jhargram and Purulia parliamentary constituencies will witness polling from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. - unlike rest of the state where polling will continue till 6 p.m.

"Hours of poll in Binpur, Bandwan and Jhargram assembly constituencies in Jhargram Lok Sabha seat will be from 7 a.m. to 4 pm. Similarly the hours have been reduced in Balrampur, Baghmundi and Joypur assembly seats in Purulia," chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta told reporters here.

He said in the 2009 general elections also, poll duration was reduced in these constituencies.

Meanwhile the Commission Saturday issued notification for the fourth phase of polls from six Lok Sabha seats in Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura, Bishnupur and Asansol constituencies May 7.

So far five nominations have been filed for the fourth phase while 87 candidates will be contesting in the third poll phase.

Gupta assured the commission is taking "special measures" to ensure free and fair polling in Junglemahal.

"The problem areas are located in the fourth phase polling date and the Commission is giving focus to areas likely to be affected by LWE and Maoist problems. Depending upon the situation in those areas, we will plan," he said.

Gupta also stated the preparations for the first poll phase beginning April 17 is nearly complete and two senior officials from the Commission are reviewing the situation in the four constituencies - Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar - of that phase.


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