A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) polling agent at booth number 107 in the Kamarhati constituency died on Saturday, 17 April, as West Bengal votes in the fifth phase of the Assembly elections in the state. Polling is being held across 45 constituencies in six districts of Bengal, amid a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases. The EC has sought a report over the same.
A 78.36% voter turnout has been recorded till 5 pm.
Districts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Jalpaiguri in north Bengal and the districts of Nadia, Purba Bardhaman, and North 24 Parganas in south Bengal are polling in this phase.
While the Hills of north Bengal have been a BJP bastion even before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, with the party winning all Hills seats in that election, the other three districts have largely remained TMC bastions.
Election Commission has decided to ban rallies, public meetings and streetplays in poll-bound West Bengal from 7 pm to 10 am.
Silence period for the remaining phases has also been extended from 48 hours to 72 hours.
Despite the Trinamool Congress’ explicit request to club the remaining phases of election into one, the EC conducted an all party-meeting in West Bengal and announced that the poll-schedule should be maintained.
Remaining four phases of the poll will be held between 17 and 29 April.
West Bengal, on Friday, reported 6,910 new COVID-19 cases, 2,818 recoveries and 26 fatalities.
In Photos: Polling Underway
Barasat SP Submits Report Over Alleged Firing By Security Forces
Barasat SP submitted a report to Special Police Observer on the alleged incident of 'blank firing by CRPF personnel' deputed at a booth in Deganga constituency. The SP said, "the allegation is found to be not based on facts".
78.36% Turnout Till 5 PM
TMC Writes to EC Over Audio Clip Released by BJP; Calls It Illegal
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) wrote to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Saturday, 17 April, for allegedly recording and releasing an audio clip of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with the party’s Sitalkuchi MLA candidate Partha Pratim Roy.
In the purported clip, Banerjee can be heard talking to the TMC candidate, allegedly asking him to hold rallies with the bodies of the four people who were killed by the security forces in Cooch Behar district's Sitalkuchi constituency.
on 10 April, PTI reported.
The letter – undersigned by party leaders Yashwant Sinha, Derek O'Brien and Purnendu Basu – reads, “It is unprecedented that a Chief Minister’s phone has been intercepted at BJP’s behest and leaked one day before polls.”
"“How can the BJP release a fake audio a day before the polls! Is it not an effort to unfairly influence the elections! Will the Election Commission take cognisance of it?”" - Yashwant Sinha told IANS
Voters Allege Central Security Forces Opened Fire in South 24 Parganas
The Election Commission on Saturday sought a report from poll observers in South 24 Parganas's Deganga constituency, where voting is underway, after allegations of firing by central forces.
A senior election official told PTI that the office of CEO Aariz Aftab has received video footage, in which villagers are seen alleging that central forces opened fire near a booth in the Kurulgacha area of Deganga to chase them away.
“We have sought a quick report on the matter from the poll observers there,” he said.
Armed Security Forces Helping Electors Vote in Purba Bardhaman District
Only BJP Can Stop Infiltration: Amit Shah at a Rally
While speaking at an election rally in Bengal's Ausgram, Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah said, “It is only Bharatiya Janata Party's government that can stop infiltration.”
69.40% Turnout Till 4:13 PM
In Photos: Polling Underway
62.40% Turnout Till 3:15 PM
54.67% Turnout Till 1:34 PM
In Photos: Polling Underway in Panihati Constituency
36.02% Turnout Till 11:37 AM
'2 People Injured by Stone Pelting in Bidhan Nagar': TMC Candidate
West Bengal Minister and TMC candidate from Bidhan Nagar, Sujit Bose, visits the polling booth in East Calcutta Girls College.
BJP to Meet EC Over Mamata's Alleged Audio Clip on Cooch Behar Violence
Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will meet Election Commission today in Kolkata, over Chief Minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee's purported audio clip on the Sitalkuchi, Cooch Behar violence.
Four men were shot dead on Saturday, 10 April, in a clash with security forces outside a polling booth, during the fourth phase of state elections, triggering a blame game between the BJP and the TMC.
'Central Forces Searched My Pocket': TMC Leader in Kamarhati
EC Seeks Report After Sudden Death of BJP Polling Agent
The Election Commission has sought a report over the sudden demise of a BJP polling agent at booth number 107 in the Kamarhati constituency.
The deceased agent's brother said, "His name is Abhijeet Samant. Nobody helped him, there is no facility for treatment here."
16.15% Turnout Till 9:32 AM
TMC Candidate Madan Mitra Casts His Vote
TMC leader Madan Mitra cast his vote at a polling booth in the Kamarhati constituency in the district of North 24 Parganas.
'We Want BJP, We Want Justice': GNLF President Mann Ghising
PM Modi Urges People to Vote in Large Numbers
Polling for the 5th Phase Begins
Polling in the fifth phase of the mammoth eight-phase West Bengal election began on Saturday morning. Forty-five seats go to polls in this phase amid tight security, where over one crore voters will decide the fate of 342 candidates.
45 Constituencies Across 6 Districts to Go to Polls in the Fifth Phase
Forty-five constituencies across six districts are going to vote in this phase. These are the districts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri in north Bengal and the districts of Nadia, Purba Bardhaman and North 24 Parganas in south Bengal.
While the Hills of north Bengal have been a BJP bastion since before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, with the BJP winning all Hills seats in that election, the other three districts have largely remained TMC bastions.
EC Extends Silence Period, Curtails Campaign Timings
Due to the surge in COVID cases, the West Bengal Election Commission (EC), on Friday, 16 April, banned campaign rallies, public meetings from being held in the poll-bound state from 7 pm to 10 am, starting Friday, 16 April.
The silence period has been extended from 48 hours to 72 hours in each of the remaining phases in West Bengal, informed EC. During the silence period, parties and candidates cannot hold rallies and meetings.
Mamata Urges EC to Club All Phases Into One Amid COVID Surge; BJP, EC Say No
On Thursday, 15 April, Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had urged the Election Commission of India to conduct the remaining phases of the Assembly elections in the state in one go, in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases.
"“Amid an ongoing pandemic, we firmly opposed Election Commission’s decision to conduct WB polls in 8 phases. Now, in view of the huge surge in #COVID19 cases, I urge the ECI to consider holding the remaining phases in one go. This will protect the people from further exposure to COVID-19. (sic)”" - Mamata Banerjee, CM, West Bengal
In a letter to the EC, the BJP, opposed Banerjee’s suggestion to club all phases, asserting that to ensure a level playing field, the EC must hold the remaining phases as per schedule.
The EC on Thursday, dismissed all speculations regarding the clubbing of the last three phases of assembly elections in West Bengal.
. Read more on West Bengal by The Quint.WB Polls: Voting Concludes For Phase 5 With 78.36% TurnoutSunday View: The Best Weekend Opinion Reads, Curated Just For You . Read more on West Bengal by The Quint.