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Bengal LS polls: Over two percent increase in first phase turnout

Posted on Apr 18 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, April 18 : West Bengal recorded more than two percent increase in average voter turnout in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in the state compared to the 2009 election, an Election Commission official said Friday.

A whopping 82.52 percent of the electorate cast their votes in the first phase covering four constituencies. The figure for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls for the four seats) stood at 80.77 percent.

Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar in northern West Bengal went to the hustings Thursday, kick-starting the staggered five-phase balloting in the state, which sends 42 members to the Lok Sabha.

"The final polling percentage in Cooch Behar stood at 81.74 percent, in Jalpaiguri it was 84.84, Darjeeling recorded 80.2, while the turnout at Alipurduar was 83.2 percent," assistant chief electoral officer Amitjyoti Bhattacharya told reporters here.

Figures show the percentage for 2014 shot up in Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling while it decreased by 2.2 percent in Coochbehar.

The poling extended way beyond the scheduled deadline of 6 p.m.

Around 120 companies of paramilitary forces were deployed for the polls where 6,033,310 voters - including 2,909,975 women - were eligible to make their choice from among 47 candidates in 7,443 polling stations.

The Forward Bloc, which contested the Cooch Behar seat, accused the ruling Trinamool of capturing a large number of booths, and demanded repoll in three assembly segments - Natabari, Cooch Behar South and Sitalkuchi.

Poll panel officials said a scrutiny report of facts and complaints has been sent to the panel in Kolkata by the returning officer of Coochbehar and other three seats that witnessed polling Thursday.

"No decision has been taken as of yet," Bhattacharya said of the repoll demands.

Meanwhile, chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta and the special observer Sudhir Kumar Rakesh will hold a detailed video-conference Saturday with the district administration officials, superintendents of police, police commissioners and other officials of the districts going to polls in the remaining four phases.

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