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32 per cent polling in first 4 hrs of polling in West Bengal

Kolkata: Over 30 per cent turnout was today recorded in the first four hours of voting in 54 constituencies of North Bengal, which went to polls in the first phase of Assembly elections, with no untoward incident reported.

“Polling was 32 per cent till 11:00 am. There has been no report of any untoward incident so far,” Election Commission office sources said here.

Jalpaiguri district had the highest turnout at 39 per cent and North Dinajpur and Coochebhar the lowest with 28 per cent each, the sources said.

The turnout in Darjeeling district was 28 per cent, Malda recorded 37 per cent and South Dinajpur 30 per cent, the sources said. The presiding officer of a polling booth in Hariram constituency in South Dinajpur district was removed for speaking with a minister.

“The presiding officer of 44/66A booth of Harirampur Assembly Constituency was removed after a complaint that he, while coming out of the booth, spoke with Minister Narayan Biswas on phone. He has been replaced,” Additional Chief Electoral officer N K Sahana told PTI.

“The polling is peaceful,” Sahana said. Intially, there were reports of powercuts in Malda, but the situation was normal now. An electorate of 97.42 lakh will decide the fate of 364 candidates including 11 ministers – Ashok Bhattacharya, Kshiti Goswami, Biswanath Chowdhury, Kironmoy Nanda, Narayan Biswas and Srikumar Mukherjee.

Also contesting is Congress leader Debaprasad Roy and Trinamool Congress Darjeeling district president Gautam Deb. The six-phase election will end on May 10.

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