Polling begins for 44 seats in fourth phase of Bengal elections

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Kolkata, Apr 10 (PTI) Polling began at 7 am on Saturday for 44 seats in the fourth phase of the West Bengal assembly elections amid tight security, officials said.

Voting is underway with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in nine seats in Howrah district, 11 in South 24 Parganas, five in Alipurduar, nine in Cooch Behar and 10 in Hooghly, they said.

Long queues were seen outside polling stations where voting will continue till 6.30 pm.

Over 1.15 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 373 candidates, including Union minister Babul Supriyo and state ministers Partha Chatterjee and Arup Biswas.

Tight security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful voting, with 789 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF) being deployed to guard 15,940 polling stations.

At least 187 companies of CAPF, the highest deployment of forces among poll-bound districts in the phase, are in Cooch Behar, which has witnessed sporadic incidents of violence, including an attack on BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, in the run-up to the elections.

State police forces have also been deployed at strategic locations to aid the central forces.

Elections for the 294 assembly seats in West Bengal are being held in eight phases. The votes will be counted on May 2. PTI PNT BDC ACD ACD