Nearly 80 per cent turnout in W Bengal, over 72 per cent in Assam till 5 PM:EC

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New Delhi, Mar 27 (PTI) A voter turnout of 79.79 percent was recorded in West Bengal and 72.14 percent in Assam till 5 PM on Saturday in the first phase of assembly elections in these states, the Election Commission said.

Voting was held in 30 assembly constituencies in West Bengal and 47 seats in Assam in this phase with a total of 21,825 polling stations.

During the polls, 10288 each of Ballot Units (BUs), Control Units (CUs) and VVPATs were used in West Bengal and 11,537 each of BUs, CUs and 37 VVPATs were used in Assam. One control unit, on VVPAT and at least one ballot unit make an EVM.

'Non-functioning rate during the poll is lesser than experienced in last few polls,' an EC statement said without elaborating.

On Saturday, a total of 167 cases of Model Code of Conduct violations were reported through the cVIGIL app from West Bengal out of which 111 were disposed of by 4.30 PM.

Similarly, 582 cases were reported from Assam with 423 disposed of till 4.30 PM.

From the date of notification of the election till the first phase of voting, a record seizure of Rs 281.28 crore has been made in these states.

The seizure figure, which includes cash, liquor, narcotics and freebies, is more than four times higher than the total combined seizure of Rs 60.91 crore in assembly polls of 2016.

Till date, Rs 97.31crore has been seized in Assam (as against a total seizure of Rs 16.58 crore in 2016 assembly polls) and a total of 183.97 crore for West Bengal (as against a total seizure of Rs 44.33crore in 2016 assembly polls).

The poll panel said it had laid great emphasis on ensuring transparent and vigilant mechanisms for conducting elections that are free of inducement and intimidation.

In West Bengal, nearly 74 lakh electorate across 10,288 polling stations had registered to exercise their franchise in this phase.

Voting was held in 47 assembly constituencies of Assam with a total of 81 lakh electorate registered across 11,537 polling stations.

The number of polling stations had increased as the number of voters per polling station was reduced from 1,500 to 1000 keeping social distancing norms in mind due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a major push in conducting free and fair elections, live monitoring and webcasting mechanism for more than 50 percent of polling stations, including critical and vulnerable polling booths, were put in place to ensure safe and secure atmosphere in polling areas.

The Commission, state chief electoral officers, district election officers and the observers could watch live streaming and keep a close watch on these polling booths in Assam and West Bengal.

Webcasting arrangements were put in place for 5,392 polling stations in West Bengal and 5,039 polling stations in Assam, the EC said.

All the polling stations were directed to follow COVID-19 safety protocols. PTI NAB RT RT RT