18 April, Kolkata
Defying the scorching sun and heat wave conditions, nearly 80 per cent voters of the 1.2 core electorate today cast their ballots for 56 Assembly seats in seven districts, amid reports of sporadic violence in West Bengal.
The Election Commission ordered an FIR against Trinamool Congress president Anubrata Mondal in poll-bound Birbhum district for wearing shirt with party symbol during his voting at Bolpur seat.EC is expected to take stern action against Mondal.
He was already under the 24×7 surveillance by an order of the EC. Deputy Election Commissioner in the Election Commission Sandeep Saxena said up to 1800 hrs, about 79.70 per cent voters had cast their ballot, which began at 0700 hrs, amid vigil of Central forces.
He said about 167 presiding officers were removed after getting reports of complaints against them. Violence-hit Birbhum district reported highest polling of 82.89 per cent, followed by South Dinajpur 82.72 per cent, Alipurduar 82.07, Malda 79.60, Jalpaiguri 77.69, North Dinajpur 78.90 and Darjeeling had lowest 74 per cent.Barring Birbhum, which is under south Bengal, the six districts fall under north Bengal.
The officials said voting by and large was peaceful, barring some stray incidents. At least 13 people were injured in the clashes at different places.BJP leader Locket Chatterjee, whose fate was decided today, charged a presiding officer at Mayureswar for allowing people false voting.
The matter was relayed to EC. BJP demanded countermanding of polling in all 11 constituencies of Birbhum district. A clash between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers left eight persons injured in Dumrut village of Birbhum district, where polling is underway, police said. In the second phase, over 1.2 crore electorate will decide the fate of 383 candidates, including 33 women.
The election to 294 seats in West Bengal Assembly will be conducted in six phases, spread across seven polling days from April 4 to May 5.The counting of votes in all constituencies will take place on May 19.