Kolkata: Though there were sporadic incidents of violence, brisk polling was recorded in 108 municipalities spread over 21 districts across West Bengal in the crucial civic body elections on Sunday February 27. According to the latest information, 65 per cent polling was recorded till 3 p.m.
The voting started at 7 a.m. and will conclude at 5 p.m.. Early visuals from the polling booths showed long queues as people turned up to exercise their franchise. The voting is being held for 2,171 wards of the 108 municipalities and the counting of votes will take place on March 2. Over 95.6 lakh voters will be deciding the fate of 8,160 candidates.
East Midnapore recorded the highest polling percentage of 75.7 followed by Murshidabad with 73.9 per cent polling. Birbhum and East Burdwan recorded more than 70 per cent polling till 3 p.m. Darjeeling recorded the lowest polling percentage with only 47.8 per cent reached the polling centres. Purulia also recorded a low polling percentage with only 58.7 per cent voting was recorded till 3 p.m.
The State Election Commission has deployed a total of 44,000 police personnel, with at least one, armed police at every booth. As many as 135 observers, including 10 special senior observers and 108 general observers are keeping a close watch on the polling.
The SEC said voting is not being held for 103 wards as only one candidate was in the fray. They were declared winners uncontested.
The BJP alleged that there were incidents of violence in several places in the state, saying that the ruling Trinamool Congress was responsible for booth jamming, proxy voting and threatening the opposition. Some outsiders were found in queues at some polling booths in Barrackpore and Dum Dum municipalities in North 24 Parganas district, the BJP alleged.
In Bhatpara municipality, the pocketborough of BJP MP Arjun Singh, the situation was tense as sporadic clashes erupted between TMC and BJP supporters.
Singh had heated arguments with Trinamool Congress members when he went to some wards in Bhatpara Municipality.
A BJP candidate smashed an EVM, alleging rigging by TMC members, in one of the wards. The TMC denied the allegations of foul play.