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Bengal goes to polls Thursday

Posted on Apr 16 2014 | IANS

Siliguri, April 16 : Four Lok Sabha constituencies of Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal will go to the polls Thursday in the first phase of balloting in the state.

The international borders with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh will remain sealed till Friday, officials said here Wednesday.

"The international border will remain sealed from 6 p.m. Wednesday till 8 a.m. Friday. During this period, no movement of vehicles or people across the borders will be allowed," said Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Pritha Sarkar.

Sarkar, who held talks with administrative officials in Bhutan, said export and import of goods through the border will remain suspended till Friday morning.

The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) which guards the Bhutan border, the Border Security Force (BSF) which guards the Bangladesh border, and various central security forces are working in tandem to ensure peaceful polls.

Central security forces like Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Reserve Police Force and the Mizoram Armed Police will be deployed in polling booths across the three districts of Cooch Behar, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri.

Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Chaturvedi said 14 companies of the BSF, nine companies of the CRPF and seven companies of Mizoram Police will be deployed for poll duty in the district.

Similarly, Jalpaiguri, where 953 booths have been identified as sensitive, will get 37 companies of central security forces.

In all, around 120 companies of central paramilitary forces will be deployed for the first of the five-phase polls in the state.

Arrangements for webcasting and videography of important booths have also been made.

As many as 6,023,258 electors, including 2,900,024 female voters, will exercise their franchise in 7,443 booths to decide the fate of 47 candidates in the fray.

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