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85 pc polling in phase-2 in Bengal

Kolkata: More than 85 per cent of the 93.33 lakh electorate on Saturday cast their ballot in three districts in the second phase of polling in West Bengal which went off peacefully barring a single incident of violence in which one Congress supporters was killed in Murshidabad district.

Nadia district recorded the highest turnout at 85.55 per cent, closely followed by Birbhum with 85.48 per cent, and Murshidabad with 84.86 per cent, as an elaborate security ring was thrown around in 11,531 polling stations. “More than 85 per cent voters have exercised their rights so far and the figure is likely to go up as in some of the polling booths people are still standing in queue,” EC sources said.

While the overall voting ended smoothly, there were a few minor untoward incidents in which one Congress activist was killed in a clash with rival CPM supporters while police took 35 people into custody, of which 32 were preventive arrests. A polling agent of a CPM candidate in Murshidabad was taken into custody after 25 postal ballots were found in his possession, said an election officer.

Workers of the CPM and the Congress clashed outside a polling station at Beldanga of Murhisdabad district, leading to two arrests. A presiding officer in Ranaghat South constituency in Nadia district was replaced for influencing voters inside the polling station and another officer in Bharatpur constituency in Murshidabad district was replaced after he fell ill,additional chief electoral officer N K Sahana said.

Prominent among those poll fortunes will be put on test include Abhijit Mukherjee, son of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee contesting from Nalhati, former high court judge Nure Alam Chowdhury, a Trinamool Congress candidate contesting from Murarai, Rukbanur Rahman, brother of late computer graphics teacher Rizwanur Rahman from the Chapra constituency, besides Panchayat minister and CPM leader Anisur Rahaman.

The BJP has fielded candidates in all the 50 seats, followed by CPM in 31, Trinamool Congress in 29, BSP in 27 and Congress in 21 seats.

The third phase of polling is due on April 27 next.

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