Amid reports of sporadic violence which killed one person and series of clashes between political rivals during which bombs were exploded, there was 79.22% voter turnout in the third phase of West Bengal Assembly elections involving 62 constituencies in four districts on Thursday.
The Election Commission said that the turnout could be more as the figures were based on text messages sent by polling officials from the field till 5 pm.
Though polling ended at 6 pm, officials said the final turnout figure would be known on Friday.
Deputy election commission, in charge of West Bengal, Sandeep Saxena said while one person was found killed near a polling station, nine others were injured in clashes between political rivals during which crude bombs were used.
Addressing media, Saxena said FIRs were lodged against the culprits involved in hurling crude bombs .
He also said that Trinamool leader Anwar Khan was found to be provoking party supporters against an EC official, following which an FIR was filed against him and he was later arrested.
Here are the highlights of third phase of voting in the state:
4.00pm: 67.80% polling recorded till 3pm
- Overall 57.21% polling was recorded till 1pm. The turnout in Murshidabad was 58%, Nadia 60%, Burdwan 58.74% and Kolkata 44% in first six hours of voting.
- The Election Commission (EC) officials received over 1,000 complaints, including those of violence, voter intimidation, and disruption to poll process, during the ballotting so far.
- 39.76% voting registered in the first four hours of polling in 62 seats across the state.
- 18.29% voters on Thursday exercised their franchise in the first two hours of polling in the third phase of West Bengal Assembly elections for 62 seats, seven of which are in northern Kolkata.
The highest voter turnout of 20.53% was recorded in the 22 seats of Murshidabad district while the lowest of 14.71% was recorded in the metropolis till 9am.
The voting percentage in 17 seats of Nadia district was 18.09% while in Burdwan it was 17.01%. The overall average was 18.29%.
Assembly Elections 2016: Full Coverage
A 35-year-old CPI(M) supporter was killed and his body was found lying outside a polling booth at Shibapara area under Domkal Assembly seat in Murshidabad district where polling for the third phase is underway.
CPI(M) candidate and former minister Anisur Rahman said that the man identified as Tahidur Islam was killed when bombs were hurled outside the polling booth.
Murshidabad Superintendent of police C Sudhakar, however, said the murder was not related to polls.
Tahidur was stabbed somewhere else and his body was dumped near the booth, the SP said.
More than 1.37 crore voters are participating in this crucial phase to decide the fate of 418 candidates including 34 women. The constituencies are spread over Murshidabad Nadia, Burdwan districts and north Kolkata.
Key candidates in this phase include Trinamool Congress (TMC) ministers Shashi Panja and Sadhan Pande, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha, five-time Congress MLA Md Sohrab, CPI-M MLA Anisur Rahman and retired IPS officer Nazrul Islam.
Of the 418 candidates in the fray, 61 are crorepatis, 80 have criminal cases against them, with 65 of them declaring serious criminal offences like murder and rape against their name.
The Election Commission has identified 3,401 hamlets in the phase as vulnerable.
Based on complaints received from the electorate, 6,095 voters have been identified as vulnerable after which action has been taken by 4,094 trouble mongers.
Security forces have been strengthened with around one lakh security personnel, including 75,000 central forces, spread all over the state.
The ruling Trinamool Congress, Left-Congress alliance and BJP have put up a fight in all the seats.
So far, voters in 105 of the total 294 constituencies have exercised their right to franchise on three dates -- April 4, 11 and 17 -- in the first two phases.
West Bengal goes to polls in a six-phase election. Polling for the remaining phases will be held on April 25, 30 and May 5.