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Polling underway at 3 Bengal seats for LS

Polling underway at 3 Bengal seats for LS

Kolkata, April 19 (UNI) In the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on Friday, three key constituencies of West Bengal -- Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri -- are in action.
The voting process commenced at 7 am under a tight security arrangement in the constituencies that are in northern part of the state.
The Central Armed Forces and state police personnel are keeping a close vigil as over 4.6 million voters set out to exercise their franchise in around 5,814 polling booths, in which some 30 candidates are seeking their electoral fates.
Though the contest is assumed to be multi-cornered, the real fight is concentrated between the state-ruling Trinamool Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Left Front and Congress are among the other political parties in the run-up, while the majority of the candidates are Independents.
A fierce contest is expected between BJP candidate and union minister Nishith Pramanik and TMC's Jagadish Chandra Barma Basunia in the Cooch Behar seat, in Alipurduar between Monoj Tigga (BJP) and TMC's Prakash Chik Baraik, and in Jalpaiguri between Jayanta Kumar Roy of the BJP and Nirmal Chandra Roy from the ruling party.
Congress fielded Riya Roy Chowdhury from Cooch Behar, Milli Oraon from RSP in Alipurduar, and Debraj Burman (CPI(M)) in Jalpaiguri.
In 2019, the BJP won all three seats. However, this time it replaced Alipuduar sitting MP and fielded medic Monoj Tigga.
Some 18,14,200 voters in Cooch Behar are expected to press the EVM button in about 2043 booths, of which 196 are vulnerable.
About 14,70,911 electorates in Alipurduar will exercise their rights in about 1,867 polling stations, of which 159 are vulnerable.
In Jalpaiguri, 13,51,469 voters will vote in some 1,904 booths, of which 391 have been identified as sensitive, sources added.
About 254 companies of the Central Armed Forces and nearly 10,000 state police personnel have been deployed to man and assist the poll personnel to ensure free and peaceful voting.
On Thursday, West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose said he has cancelled his proposed visit to the poll-bound northern districts, including Cooch Behar, a day after the Election Commission of India suggested to the gubernatorial office that his presence may invite the violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
"I do not want to involve myself in any political controversy, though nobody can stop the movement of a Governor," a Raj Bhawan communique said.
" The welfare of the people of the state is my top priority, especially for maintenance of peace during the Lok Sabha elections and For this, I wanted to go there."
Bose said, " I don't want to be a pawn of a chess board of politics and according to the Indian Constitution, none can stop the movement of a Governor."
The ruling TMC had lodged a complaint with the ECI after the governor had proposed to visit Cooch Behar, where sporadic violences at Dinhata in Cooch Behar where BJP candidate and union minister Nitish Pramanik and North Bengal Development minister Udayan Guha were involved in tussles with their supporters.
Cooch Behar's Sitalkuchi had witnessed four deaths during the 2021 assembly poll in the state.
Meanwhile, the ECI has imposed restrictions on Guha to limit himself in his assembly segment area of Dinhata, where he is also an MLA, during the poll day on Friday.
BJP candidate Nisith Pramanik had written to the Election Commission (EC), requesting that Bengal minister Udayan Guha be confined to his booth on the day of election in the Cooch Behar constituency on April 19.

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