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State News

Apr 09, 2021

Elaborate arrangements in place for 4th phase of Assembly Elections tomorrow in West Bengal

In the poll-bound West Bengal, all the necessary preparations have been made for the Fourth Phase polling of Assembly Elections tomorrow. The polling will be conducted from 7.00 A.M. to 6.30 P.M. The Election Commission has decided to use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) along with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at every Polling Station, with a view to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election process, as VVPAT allows the voter to verify his/her vote. The arrangements have already been made to ensure availability of adequate number of EVMs and VVPATs for the smooth conduct of elections.
In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the Election Commission has decided to allow maximum 1,000 electors in a Polling Station instead of earlier stipulation of 1,500 electors. Option of Postal Ballot facility has been extended to the electors who are COVID- 19 positive or suspect as certified by competent authority and are in home or institutional quarantine along with those marked as Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and above the age of 80 years. It will be ensured that every Polling Station is equipped with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like drinking water, waiting shed, toilet with water facility, adequate arrangements for lighting, ramp of appropriate gradient for the  Persons with Disabilities. The special facilities will include mandatory sanitization of Polling Station, thermal checking of voters at entry point either by polling staff or paramedical staff or an Asha worker. If temperature is above the set norms of Health Ministry, then the elector will be provided with token and asked to come for voting at the last hour of poll. At the last hour of poll, such electors will be facilitated for voting, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures.
In all, 373 candidates including 50 women will be vying for the 44 seats in five districts during the Fourth Phase. The state is witnessing eight-phase elections. Over 1.15 crore voters including 56.94 lakh women and 293 Third Gender persons will decide the fate of these candidates. More than 12,310 Polling Stations have been set up for this purpose. Bharatiya Janata Party and ruling AITC are contesting for all the 44 seats while Congress, Left parties and their alliance partner Indian Secular Front are fighting under the banner of Sanyukt Morcha. CPI (M) has fielded 22 candidates, BSP has 13, Congress - nine, AIFB - six, ISF - four, RSP- two and CPI- one while there are 153 independents along with 73 others are also in the fray.
The prominent leaders contesting in this phase include State Ministers Binay Krishna Barman from Coochbehar Uttar, Rabindranath Ghosh from Natabari, Javed Ahmed Khan from Kasba, Aroop Biswas from Tollyganj, Partha Chatterjee from Behala Paschim, Arup Roy from Howrah Madhya, Becharam Manna from Singur, Indranil Sen from Chandannagar and Tapan Dasgupta from Saptagram. Former Ministers Paresh Chandra Adhikary from Mekliganj, Udayan Guha from Dinhata, Rajib Bannerjee from Domjur, Leader of Opposition in Assembly Abdul Mannan from Champdani, BJP leader Manoj Tigga from Madarihat, Congress leader Deboprasad Roy from Alipurduar, Left-Front Leader Dr. Sujan Chakraborty from Jadavpur and CPIM Polit Bureau Member Mohammed Salim from Chanditala are also in the fray. Besides, BJP MP Locket Chatterjee from Chunchura, actors Anjana Basu and Arundhati Maitra from Sonarpur Dakshin, cricketer Manoj Tiwary from Shibpur, footballer Bidesh Ranjan Bose from Uluberia Purba and senior journalist Rantidev Sengupta from Howrah Dakshin are also trying their luck.
During the Fifth Phase of State Assembly Elections, the high-pitch electioneering campaign is gaining momentum with the prominent leaders of different political parties engaging in whirlwind tours for canvassing in favour of their candidates. The campaigning is also on for the simultaneous By-Elections of two Lok Sabha seats including Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh and Belgaum in Karnataka along with 14 Assembly Constituencies in eleven states. In all, 45 ACs will go to polls in the Fifth Phase of Assembly Elections in West Bengal on 17th of April. The ACs going in for the by-polls include three in Rajasthan, two in Karnataka and one each in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Telangana and Uttarakhand.
Meanwhile, the final picture of candidature for the Sixth Phase of elections in West Bengal became clear on Wednesday and the electoral campaign picked up in the concerned parts of the state. In all, 43 Assembly Constituencies will go to polls in this phase on 22nd of April.
The scrutiny of nomination papers for the Seventh as well as the Eighth and Final Phase of the Assembly Elections in West Bengal was completed yesterday. The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be 12th of April.  In all, 36 Assembly Constituencies will go to polls in the Seventh Phase on 26th of April while remaining 35 Assembly Constituencies will go to polls in the Eighth Phase on 29th of April. The counting of votes will be taken up together on 2nd of May.

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