Kolkata, May 6 : An estimated 16 per cent of 1,16,91,889 electorate exercised their franchise in the first three hours till 10 AM this morning to decide the fate of 83 candidates in the fifth of the seven-phase election to seven South Bengal Lok Sabha seats of Bangaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Sreerampur, Hooghly and Arambag.
While Arambagh accounted for 19.19 per cent turnout, Sreerampur for 17.41, Howrah for 16.18, Bongaon for 13.68, Uluberia for 20.59, Barrackpur for 13.99 and Hooghly for 15.12.
The Election Commission has sought a report on alleged violence at Mohanpur booth (241) under Barrackpur Lok Sabha constituency, where BJP candidate Arjun Singh sustained minor injuries in a scuffle. It was alleged that while escorting his polling agent in the booth he was challenged by the Trinamool activists resulting in a scuffle in which Mr Singh sustained injuries. Later the Central forces brought the situation under control. A woman alleged that her son was threatened for life by the TMC workers.
Tension also ran high at Barrackpore and Kakinara where unidentified miscreants hurled bombs. Reports of tension among the voters poured in from Gaighata under Bongaon LS seat where BJP supporters allegedly attacked a house of TMC activist at Kharermath and a bike was torched. However, the BJP denied it.
Reports of malfunctioning of EVMs poured in from several booths under Sreerampur Lok Sabha constituency. Hooghly BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee alleged that the Trinamool activists have prevented her party agent from entering a booth at Mallickpur. Meanwhile, BJP candidate from Bongaon Santanu Thakur, who sustained head wounds while campaigning on Saturday, today alleged he was targetted by the TMC, which was denied by the ruling party. The EC is also keeping a vigil on the industrial belt of Barrackpore, where former TMC leader Arjun Singh is contesting the seat against incumbent and TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi.
About 660 companies of Central Armed Forces have been deployed in seven seats spreading three districts of South Bengal. Besides, another 50 companies have already moved to other places where the sixth and penultimate phase polling will take place on May 12 in eight seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Trinamool Congress (AITC), Indian National Congress (INC) and the Left Front have fielded their candidates in all the seven constituencies.
Prominent among those contesting the fifth phase Lok Sabha election are former railway minister and sitting TMC MP Dinesh Trivedi from Barrackpur, sitting MP Sajda Ahmed, wife of late former union Sultan Ahmed, and veteran Bengali actor-cum-BJP candidate Joy Banerjee from Uluberia, actor-cum-BJP leader Locket Chatterjee and sitting TMC MP Dr Ratna De Nag from Hooghly, Lawyer-cum-sitting TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee from Sreerampore, former Indian football captain-cum-sitting TMC MP Prasun Banerjee from Howrah and TMC’s sitting MP Aparupa
Poddar from Arambag. UNI