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EC scanner on Bengal's Birbhum post Jharkhand blast

Posted on Apr 25 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, April 25 : The Election Commission's special observer for West Bengal Sudhir Kumar Rakesh Friday said every polling booth in Birbhum district will be equipped with security on par with those arranged in sensitive booths.

Birbhum and eight other seats will go to the hustings April 30 in the third phase of polls in the state.

"Any obstructions in the polling process will be firmly tackled. All polling stations will get the same security as sensitive ones," Rakesh told media persons while touring Birbhum district.

The Commission's stern message comes a day after a landmine blast in Jharkhand's Dumka district, which borders Birbhum, left eight people, including five security personnel and two polling officials, dead.

Jharkhand Police suspect the involvement of West Bengal Maoists in Thursday's incident.

Meanwhile, the final percentage of voter turnout in Thursday's polls for six seats stood at 81.75, which is lower than the 2009 Lok Sabha average for those seats.

Despite the temperature rising close to 40 degrees Celsius in many areas, people patiently stood in the long queues for hours to cast their votes for Jangipur, Murshidabad, Malda North, Malda South, Balurghat and Raiganj seats.

Officials said the heat might be a reason for the comparative low figure.

The authorities described the polling process in the second phase of elections in the state - after four constituencies voted a week back - as "peaceful", without any major incidents or complaints of booth capturing. Five arrests were made.

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