Bengal bypolls: Polling underway in 4 Assembly seats with CAPF deployment increased

Kolkata: Polling is underway for four Assembly constituencies in West Bengal, with the Election Commission (EC) deciding to increase the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

Although initially it was decided that a total of 55 companies of CAPF would be deployed for the bypolls for these four Assembly constituencies, however, at the last minute, the EC allotted 15 additional companies, taking the number to 70.

The maximum deployment has been at Bagda in North 24 Parganas district at 20, followed by 19 at Ranaghat- Dakshin in Nadia, 16 at Raiganj in North 24 Parganas district, and 15 at Maniktala in Kolkata.

The four Assembly constituencies have a total of 1,097 election booths, of which 142 are sensitive.

The maximum number of sensitive booths is at Ranaghat-Dakshin at 62, followed by 39 at Bagda, 21 at Maniktala and 20 at Raiganj.

In the first hour of polling, not much enthusiasm was evident among the voters in any four Assembly constituencies, a picture opposite to what was witnessed in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, when the long queues were seen in front of the polling booths since the first hour.

In the first hour of polling on Wednesday, there had been no report of violence or poll-related irregularities.

However, Manoj Kumar Biswas, the BJP candidate from Ranaghat-Dakshin, complained to the mediapersons that motorcycle-borne armed supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress had been intimidating voters from the constituency since Tuesday night.

“I have brought the matter to the attention of poll-related officials. I hope that the polling will be peaceful throughout the day,” Biswas said.

As per the results of the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections as well as the Assembly-wise results in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, BJP was comfortably ahead at Bagda, Ranaghat-Dakshin and Raiganj, while the ruling Trinamool Congress had been marginally ahead at Maniktala.

In the case of bypolls for Raiganj, Ranaghat-Dakshin and Maniktala, it is a three-cornered contest between Trinamool Congress, BJP and the Congress-Left Front alliance.

However, in the case of Bagda, the contest is four-cornered, as both Congress and the All India Forward Bloc have fielded candidates there.

–IANS

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