A voter turnout of over 78.25 % marked the fifth and penultimate phase of assembly polls in West Bengal where 186 people were arrested in incidents of electoral malpractice and sporadic violence that left at least 15 injured.Deputy Election Commissioner incharge of West Bengal, Sandeep Saxena, told the media in New Delhi that “based on SMS-based information from polling officers, at 5 PM the voter turnout in 5th phase was 78.25 %.” This is against 82.77 % voting recorded during 2011 assembly elections in the three districts of Hoogly, Kolkata South district and South 24-Parganas that went to polls today.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the same area had recorded a polling percentage of 80.22 %, he said. The final figures of turnout on Saturday will be known on Sunday after data compilation.PTIFIR against TMC Candidate Sonali GuhaAn FIR was registered against Sonali Guha, the Trinamool Congress candidate from Satgachhia assembly constituency, for allegedly intimidating voters by instructing her polling agents to shoo away the voters of opposite candidate.In the morning, Guha, who is the Deputy Speaker, was caught on camera allegedly ordering party workers over phone to beat up and drive away CPI-M polling agents in her constituency. She was also seen involved in a heated exchange of words with central force personnel when asked not to enter booth.Charges against her include interfering in electoral process, disobeying orders of a public servant and criminal intimidation. FIRs have also been lodged against two presiding officers at Arambag and Tarkeshwar after they were found aiding voters in casting ballots and even allowing unauthorised entry into their booths, state chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta said.Mamata’s constituency had the lowest turnoutTotal complaints received during the day by EC was 2970, out of which 2846 were disposed off till 6 PM, election office sources said. Today, voter turnout of 78.98 % was recorded in Hooghly district, 79.69 % in South 24 Parganas while Kolkata South, where chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is in fray in Bhowanipur constituency, had the lowest turnout of 63.10 %.PTIBesides Mamata, prominent contestants in today’s phase included her key ministerial colleagues Firhad Hakim, Partha Chattopadhyay, Subrata Mukherjee and Kolkata Mayor Shobhan Chatterjee. Out of the 186 arrests, nine were in specific cases while the rest were preventive arrests by police, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma said. Six crude bombs were found in Kolkata’s Keyatala and Iqbalpur areas, he said.CPI (MP) polling agents not allowed to enter booths by TMC workersDuring the day, 192 EVMs and 19 VVPATs were replaced due to malfunctioning. In Arambagh constituency, there were complaints that CPI-M polling agents were not allowed to enter three booths in Kodoi High School by Trinamool workers.The situation was normalised after sector officer was sent along with quick response teams. EC Officials said polling went on smoothly later on. In Khanakul, one person was detained by the police for allegedly obstructing the entry of 50 female voters in the booth. In Metiabruz, a clash was reported between CPI-M and TMC supporters after which a flying squad was sent to the spot. No injuries were, however, reported in the incident. In Baruipur, five Trinamool workers were injured in a clash in which two of them received gunshot injuries in their hand and waist, police said adding six persons have been detained in the case.PTITwo clashes were reported from Bhangar in South 24 Parganas in which five persons were injured.Four RSP workers were injured in a clash with TMC supporters at a booth at Bhangonkhali village in Basanti constituency after TMC activists allegedly prevented them from casting votes, police said. In Kathalberia in the constituency, which is also in the same district, a six-year old child was injured in a lathicharge by paramilitary forces near a polling booth where his father was hawking drinking water. As the people protested, the paramilitary personnel fired in the air and disperse them.PTIA report from Chinsurah in Hooghly district said a villager sustained head injury when he was attacked allegedly by Trinamool Congress supporters at Puin village in Arambag constituency for casting his vote. One person was arrested in this connection. Congress has demanded repoll in 15 booths of Basanti alleging malpractices.Altogether, 349 candidates, including 43 women, are trying their luck in today’s election across three districts. About 1.2 crore voters were eligible to cast their votes at over 14,500 polling booths.The centre of attraction in this phase was Bhawanipur constituency where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is pitted against former union minister Deepa Dasmunshi of the Congress. The other prominent candidate in Bhawanipur is Chandra Kumar Bose, grand nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a BJP candidate.Other political heavyweights and key ministers like Manish Gupta and Javed Ahmed Khan tested their luck in this phase of poll.
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