An estimated 63.57 per cent of the over 1.49 crore electorate exercised their franchise till 3 pm in nine Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal on Sunday, election officials said.
Polling is currently underway, amid tight security, in Kolkata North, Kolkata South, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, Jaynagar (SC) and Mathurapur (SC) in the seventh and final phase of the staggered general election, they said.
Voting is also in progress for by-elections to four Assembly constituencies in Bengal, necessitated due to resignations by sitting MLAs who are contesting the parliamentary polls.
However, there were reports of clashes, allegedly between the BJP and TMC activists, from Kankinara under the Bhatpara Assembly constituency where by-election was underway, the officials said.
Bombs were also hurled and an office of the ruling TMC in Kankinara was set on fire, as central forces restored to lathi-charge to bring the situation under control, they said.
The Barrackpore Police Commissionerate had to deploy Rapid Action Force (RAF) to control the situation in Kankinara, a senior polling official said.
The Election Commission has sought a report from the North 24 Parganas district magistrate in connection with the violence in Bhatpara, which recorded 61.30 per cent polling, he said.
“Polling is absolutely peaceful. There is no report of any violence from anywhere in these nine constituencies. The incidents reported were very minor and necessary action was immediately taken,” the official said.
“There were, however, reports of EVM glitches in several polling stations. We have sent reserve EVMs to the booths, where the voting process was temporarily hampered due to technical glitches,” the official told PTI.
Meanwhile, BJP’s Kolkata North candidate Rahul Sinha claimed that a crude bomb was hurled near Girish Park area in the constituency around 12 pm, creating panic among voters.
Police, however, said crackers were only burst, and polling was underway peacefully.
In the Kolkata South constituency, TMC candidate Mala Roy alleged that she was stopped from entering polling booths.
There were also reports about vandalisation of cars of Nilanjan Roy, the BJP’s Diamond Harbour constituency candidate and Anupam Hazra, the party’s nominee from Jadavpur.
Of the nine constituencies, Basirhat recorded the highest turnout at 69.99 per cent, followed by Mathurapur (SC) at 69.39 per cent, Barasat at 65.38 per cent, Dum Dum at 65.24 per cent, Jaynagar (SC) at 63.99 per cent, Diamond Harbour at 63.96 per cent, Jadavpur at 60.59 per cent and Kolkata South at 58.66 per cent, the official added.
The Kolkata North constituency recorded the lowest turnout till 3 pm at 54.66 per cent.
A total of 1,49,63,064 electorate will decide the fate of 111 candidates in the final phase of the general elections.
Altogether 710 companies of central forces have been deployed at 17,042 polling booths in the state to ensure free and fair voting, he said.