Overall situation peaceful in fifth phase of Bengal polls

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Kolkata, Apr 17 (PTI) The overall situation was peaceful in the morning hours in the areas where polling was underway in the fifth phase of West Bengal elections on Saturday, a senior official said.

The security personnel are maintaining a tight vigil and a few incidents that were reported have been addressed by them, the official at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said.

'As of now, polling is peaceful. There were a few incidents and those have been addressed by the central forces personnel,' he said.

'We have an adequate number of forces deployed in all the six districts where polling is underway. Quick Response Team (QRT) will reach a spot within minutes after receiving information of any untoward incident. At the moment, there is no report of any big problem anywhere,' he added.

Polling is underway in 45 seats in North 24 Parganas, Purba Bardhaman and Nadia in south Bengal, and Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts in the north.

A total of 1,13,47,344 people are eligible to vote. Of them, 57,35,766 are men, 56,11,354 are women and 224 are third gender.

Long queues were seen outside most of the polling booths since the initial hours with people choosing to vote early to avoid the heat.

At many places, voters were seen without masks amid the resurgent coronavirus, raising concerns. The security forces ensured social distancing at the booths, while poll officials provided masks, hand sanitisers and polythene gloves to the voters.

The polling started at 7 am and will continue till 6.30 pm in 15,789 stations across the six districts.

Till 9 am, 16.15 per cent voter turnout was recorded.

The Election Commission has deployed 853 companies of central forces in this phase. PTI SCH SOM SOM