The crucial third phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections — which saw the fates of high-profile candidates such as Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Partha Chatterjee being decided — passed off peacefully on Wednesday.
The voter turnout of 80.43 per cent (till 9 p.m.) was also a record in the three districts in the recent past. The average percentage in the 2006 Assembly elections and 2009 Lok Sabha elections were 77.94 per cent and 78.94 per cent respectively.
Though there was no report of any major incident, minor charges, however, kept pouring in during the day. They included the Trinamool Congress alleging rigging and booth capturing by activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) at the Jadavpur Assembly constituency from where the Chief Minister is seeking re-election.
Seventy-five Assembly constituencies in North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts and Kolkata went to the polls. In all 479 candidates were in the fray. The percentage of polling in the city-based constituencies was a shade lower than that in the other two districts.
A spell of late-afternoon showers in the city affected the pace of polling, resulting in long queues outside many booths well after 5 p.m.
“The polling was very peaceful with no report of any law and order violation or disruption. There were strong security arrangements at the polling booths and nearby areasso that security personnel could rush immediately to any spot on receiving a complaint,” State Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said.
Mr. Gupta added that one person was arrested from the city for allegedly trying to canvass for a political party near a polling booth, apart from 106 preventive arrests across the three districts.