West Bangal Assembly Election 2016, First Phase

Bengal reported a voter turnout of 80% at close of the 1(B) round of voting, while Assam reported a high voter turnout of 81.96%.

After a voter turnout of 84.22% in West Bengal during the first round of voting (1A) of the 1st phase, Bengal today went to polls in the 2nd round  of the 1st phase of voting, covering a total of 31 constituencies of Bankura, West Midnapore and Burdwan.

Assam, which too saw a strong voter turnout in the 1st phase of voting, witnessed another strong response during the 2nd and final round of voting today. The electors voted to choose their representatives for 61 constituencies in this round.

According to the Election Commission panel, the high voter turnout seen in West Bengal and Assam in the first phase of voting was the result of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP), an initiative of the EC to build awareness, instill confidence and educate voters on the need and importance of exercising their franchise.

Under the SVEEP initiative, voters were informed of special facilities put up like all-women polling stations, creating disabled-friendly polling facilities  and establishing model polling stations to ensure a positive, safe and voter-friendly environment. The public contact and awareness programmes launched in Bengal and Assam have apparently borne fruit, given high voter turnouts in both states.

Interestingly, Pradip Bhattacharya of the Congress has approached the EC office questioning the unusually high voter turnout.

West Bengal Assembly Elections 2016 – Round 1B

  • Total constituencies: 31
  • Total candidates: 163
  • Total candidates (Female): 21
  • Total voters: 6,990,900
  • Total voters (Male): 3,611,427
  • Total voters (Female): 3,368,311
  • Service voters: 11,112
  • Others: 50

Constituencies

Bankura: Total candidates – 54

  • Saltora (SC): 6 candidates
  • Chhatna: 10
  • Bankura: 6
  • Barjora: 6
  • Onda: 7
  • Bishnupur: 6
  • Katulpur (SC): 4
  • Indus (SC): 5
  • Sonamukhi (SC): 4

West Midnapore: Total candidates – 59

  • Dantan: 4 candidates
  • Keshiary (ST): 6
  • Kharagpur Sadar: 6
  • Narayangarh: 4
  • Sabang: 4
  • Pingla: 5
  • Kharagpur: 5
  • Debra: 4
  • Daspur: 4
  • Ghatal (SC): 5
  • Chandrakona (SC): 5
  • Garbeta: 4
  • Keshpur (SC): 3

Burdwan: Total candidates – 50

  • Pandabeswar: 6
  • Durgapur (East): 6
  • Durgapur (West): 7
  • Raniganj: 5
  • Jamuria: 5
  • Asansol (South): 5
  • Asansol (North): 5
  • Kulti: 6
  • Barbani: 5

The first round of the 1st phase of voting saw 84.22% voter turnout and the EC hoped to improve that figure during second round of polling  today. At 10 AM, West Bengal reported a 20% voter turnout. By 11 AM it improved to 39.6% and by 1 PM the turnout touched 59.78%.

Poll-related violence in Bengal

Despite heavy security deployment across polling districts, there have been reports of clashes between TMC and Left Front supporters. Till 10 AM, five were reportedly injured in clashes between TMC supporters and CPI(M) in Jamuria in Asansol, while other clashes were reported in Burdwan district. CPI(M) polling agents were reportedly attacked in Jamuria.

In the morning, two bags containing crude bombs were found in Jamuria Bypass road, while in Sonamukhi area in Bankura district, people were seen openly carrying arms, in a bid to intimidate voters and opposition supporters.

This phase saw some colorful contests which included the much awaited contest involving BJP state president Dilip Ghosh who took on 91 -year-old veteran Congress politician Gyan Singh Sohanpal, for the Kharagpur Sadar seat.

Leader of the Opposition and CPI (M) leader Surjya Kanta Mishra – MLA from Narayangarh — Kargil veteran Col Diptanshu Chaudhury from TMC, Bengali film actor Soham Chakraborty – TMC, Congress leader Manas Bhuniya, were among those whose fate was decided today.

 

Assam Assembly Elections 2016 – Second and final round

  • Total constituencies: 61
  • Total candidates: 525
  • Total candidates (Female): 48
  • Total voters: 10,453,231
  • Total voters (Male): 5,391,204
  • Total voters (Female): 5,044,051
  • Service voters: 17,954
  • Others: 22

Polling closed at 6 pm and the final voter turnout was 81.96%. Earlier, the state reported 15.90% voter turnout till 10 am. By 11 am, the turnout reported was 36%.

In Assam, BJP, along with their alliance partners Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), is confident of putting up a strong fight to dislodge the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government which is looking to win a fourth term in office. Assam offers the best chance for BJP to break into the North East region and is pulling out the stops with an all-out effort. Bangladeshi infiltration has been the most contentious issue and both Congress and BJP have been sparring over it.

BJP is contesting 35, AGP – 19 and BPF – 10 seats.

Congress-AIUDF Rift

Tarun Gogoi, on the other hand is confident of yet another term and is hoping for support from Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). Ajmal is an MP from Dhubri and wields considerable influence amongst Muslim voters. He is reported to be bargaining hard with the Congress and has been publicly criticising the Congress-led government for not fulfilling the minority welfare agenda.

Since he is unlikely to go with the BJP-led alliance, there is a fair chance  that he will ultimately offer support to the Congress-led alliance which could well tilt the scales in favour of the ruling party in case of a close contest, as 36% voters in Assam are Muslim and AIUDF is expected to gain sizeable seats.

CM Gogoi has courted controversy by holding a press conference despite Model Code of Conduct barring it. The EC is now likely to take action for the poll code violation.

Congress is contesting in 57 seats, AIUDF – 47, CPI(M) – 9 and Independents – 214.

The second and final round of polling is going to test the fortunes of Congress party leaders like Chandan Sarkar, Rakibul Hussain and Nazrul Islam, former CM and AGP leader Prafulla Mahanta, Ramendra Narayan Kalita and Kamala Kalita – both AGP, ex-Congress and now BJP member Himanta Biswas Sarma, AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal, BPF leaders Chandan Brahma, Rihon Daimari and Pramilla Rani Brahma.

Despite over 50,000 paramilitary and police deployment in the state, clashes have taken place between voters and CRPF in Barpeta. One person was killed while several other were reported injured. Thirteen constituencies have been deemed sensitive which include four districts in Bodoland Territorial Area that has suffered from extended militancy from NDFB(S) militants.

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