West Bengal’s sixth and last phase of Assembly elections in the two districts of Cooch Behar and East Midnapur saw a massive voter turnout of over 84 %.
The fate of 170 candidates was at stake and altogether 6,774 polling stations were set up for over 58 lakh voters.
Tight security arrangements were in place in the two districts where polling began at 7 am on Thursday morning.
For the first time since Independence, residents of border enclaves in Cooch Behar exercised their electoral franchise.
The sixth phase poll had several high profile leaders in the fray. TMC’s Tamluk MP Suvendu Adhikari contested from Nandigram against CPI’s Abdul Kabir Sheikh. In Mahisadal constituency, state Environment Minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar looked to defend his seat.
A total of 238 CRPF companies and 7,500 state police personnel were deployed in East Midnapore district. In Cooch Behar, 123 companies of CRPF and 4,500 state police personnel were pressed into service.
“CRPF is deployed in all polling premises and lathi-wielding state personnel are also in place to facilitate queue management outside the polling booths,” said a security official.
During the fourth and fifth phases of polls, the EC managed to keep violence at bay and the elections were by and large peaceful.
For the final phase, EC had also set up total 94 checkpoints in East Midnapore and Cooch Behar for surveillance and they also kept a strict watch on inter-state border areas.
On Wednesday, the poll panel deployed an additional police observer in East Midnapore after four bombs were found in the area.
West Bengal’s ruling TMC won four seats out of nine in Cooch Behar in 2011 and Congress won just one.
However, in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, TMC commanded lead in eight Assembly seats.
Counting for the West Bengal Assembly Elections will be held on May 19 along with four other states and Union Territory Puducherry.