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Bengal reports 79% polling, state’s CEO claims ‘no major incident’

Calcutta, May 12 (PTI): A little over 79 per cent of voters cast their vote in the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal that made up Monday’s fifth and final phase, in which the fate of 188 candidates will be decided.

The figure was high by 1pm, despite the hot and sultry day. Voting picked up later in the day.

”On an average, 56.38 per cent of the total 2,55,75,744 voters have cast their votes in the first six hours of polling,” the state's Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta had said earlier in the day.

The 17 constituencies are Berhampore, Krishnagar, Ranaghat, Bongaon, Barrackpore, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata (South), Kolkata (North), Tamluk, Contai and Ghatal.

Thirteen persons were injured in a clash between CPI(M) and Trinamul Congress supporters at Haroa in North 24 Parganas district, under Minakha assembly segment of Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency.

Barring replacement of some EVMs during mock polling and thereafter due to malfunctioning in a number of booths, voting is peaceful except for some stray incidents, Gupta said.

“We have not yet received report of any major incident regarding disruption of law and order or complaint of booth jamming or violation of the model code of conduct,” he said.

The Election Commission had stepped up security for this phase following pre-poll violence in the last two days.

Arrangements have been made for webcasting and live monitoring of sensitive areas where tight security has been provided by central forces.

The number of security personnel deployed for the polls this time is more than double that in the 2011 Assembly election in the state, the CEO said.