High voter turnout amid violence and COVID surge marks fifth phase of election in West Bengal

Published : April 17, 2021 23:21 IST

In Newtown Rajarhat, North 24 Parganas district, voters wait outside a polling booth during the fifth phase of the Assembly election, on April 17. Photo: Bikas Das/AP

High voter turnout amidst sporadic violence and a surge in COVID-19 cases marked the fifth phase of the Assembly election in West Bengal on April 17. The voter turnout at 5 p.m. was 78.36 per cent as 45 seats from six districts – Purba Bardhaman (8), North 24 Parganas (16), Darjeeling (5), Kalimpong (1), Jalpaiguri (7) and Nadia (8) — went to polls. Jalpaiguri saw the highest polling at 81.73 per cent, followed by Purba Bardhaman (81.72), Naida (81.57), North 24 Parganas (74.83), Darjeeling (74.31) and Kalimpong (69.56).

While voting in the 13 constituencies in North Bengal – Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri – were peaceful, several instances of violence were reported in all the districts that voted in south Bengal. Workers of the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party clashed repeatedly in Gayeshpur in Nadia. One BJP leader was seriously injured in a bomb attack, and in another incident in the same region Trinamool workers went on the rampage, attacking houses and families of BJP workers and supporters. Clashes also took place in Baranagar and Bidhannagar in North 24 Parganas. At Deganga, in the same district, villagers alleged that Central forces opened fire on them for no reason. The Superintendent of Police, however, reportedly said that the allegations were “not based on facts”. In the fourth phase of the election on April 10, four people were killed when Central forces opened fire after violence broke out at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district in north Bengal.

Meanwhile, COVID cases continue to surge in the State, with new cases reaching yet another record high. On April 17, the State registered 7,713 new cases and 34 deaths. The total number of active cases stood at 49,533. Kolkata recorded the highest number of new cases (1,998), followed by North 24 Parganas (1,639).

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor