76.16% voter turnout till 5 pm in violence-hit 4th phase of polls in West Bengal

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New Delhi, Apr 10 (PTI) A voter turnout of 76.16 per cent was recorded till 5 pm in the fourth phase of West Bengal assembly polls Saturday, amid incidents of violence which prompted the Election Commission to suspend voting at a booth in Sitalkuchi constituency of Cooch Behar.

The Commission said polling was held at 15,940 polling stations spread across 44 assembly constituencies in this phase of polls.

'However, based on report received from Special Observers on the reported incident of violence at one polling station number 126 under Sitalkutchi assembly constituency, Cooch Behar, EC has adjourned the poll. Detailed report is awaited,' an EC statement said.

A total of 15,940 ballot units (BUs) and as many control units (CUs) and VVPATs were used in this phase. One CU, one VVPAT and at least one BU make one EVM unit.

'Non-functioning rate (of EVMs) during the poll is comparable to what was experienced in the last few polls,' the statement said, without elaborating.

Amid allegations by the Trinamool Congress that central forces were forcing people to vote for a particular party, the statement said that according to the Commission's standing instruction, police officials including CAPF personnel cannot go inside a polling booth unless required by the presiding officer due to law and order problem.

'It is the standing instruction of the Commission that outsiders will not be allowed in the areas of poll-going assembly constituencies during the silence period -- 48 hours before the end of polling hour,' it said.

During the ongoing elections till this phase in West Bengal, a record seizure of Rs 283.70 crore has been reported as on April 10. The figure includes seizure of cash, liquor, narcotics, freebies, and it is more than 6.4 times of the total seizure of Rs. 44.33 crore in assembly elections of 2016.

A'total of 21,217 cases of Model Code of Conduct violations were reported through the EC’s c-VIGIL app out of which 20,987 were disposed as of 3:00 pm on Saturday, the commission said.

In the first major outbreak of violence during the ongoing West Bengal assembly elections, five people were killed, including four in firing by CISF personnel, while five candidates were attacked during polling exercise, triggering a political firestorm. PTI NAB TIR TIR