All is set for the fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections to be held in 38 Assembly constituencies on Saturday.
An electorate of over 74 lakh people will decide the fate of 193 candidates, including those of the State's Health Minister Suryakanta Mishra and West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Manas Bhunia, in this phase.
The constituencies, where elections will be held, are spread over parts of Bardhaman, Purulia, Bankura and Paschim Medinipur districts.
According to the State's Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta, adequate security arrangements have been made at all the 9425 polling booths as well as their vicinity to ensure that people can cast their votes freely and fearlessly.
“While a special observer has been sent to oversee the voting process across the 38 constituencies, arrangements like deploying micro-observers or using digital cameras or video-cameras or web-casting will be done at booths identified as sensitive,” Mr. Gupta added.
The Left Front's stake is high in this phase since the four poll-bound districts could resist the ‘wind of change' that blew through most parts of south Bengal in 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The Left Front managed to retain almost all the seats in these four districts in spite of being routed in other districts.
The results of the 2010 municipal elections, however, could bring some hope for the Trinamool Congress also where the party was able to wrest a few municipalities in the region from the Left Front.
During campaigns, while the Left Front leaders focussed on issues such as the alleged Maoist-Trinamool nexus and use of ‘black money' in the Trinamool Congress' campaign, the Trinamool Congress played the development card promising jobs, schools and hospitals.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission asked State police's Additional Director General (Law and Order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha to probe the Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s complaint on ‘electronic voting machine hackers.'
The CPI(M) complained on Thursday that a party leader has recently received multiple SMSes and e-mails from unknown persons who identified themselves as “EVM hackers” and offered to manipulate EVMs for the CPI(M) in Bankura district in lieu of cash.
“It is a serious complaint and we have asked the ADG (Law and Order) to probe it. The Election Commission will also send a letter to the State's Director General of Police on this matter soon,” Mr. Gupta said.