Bengal polls: 80% cast vote till 5 pm amid surge in COVID cases

The sixth phase of elections will decide the fate of BJP's Mukul Roy, TMC ministers Jyotipriyo Mallick and Chandrima Bhattacharya and CPI(M)'s Tanmay Bhattacharya

ITBP troops guarding polling booths in Purba Bardhaman's Katwa on Thursday. Pic: Twitter

About 79.09% voters had exercised their franchise till 5 pm during the sixth phase of West Bengal polls on Thursday (April 22), Election Commission data shows.

A total of 306 candidates, including 27 women, are in fray for 43 Assembly constituencies of North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Uttar Dinajpur and Purba Bardhaman districts. BJP national vice-president Mukul Roy, Trinamool Congress ministers Jyotipriyo Mallick and Chandrima Bhattacharya and CPI(M) leader Tanmay Bhattacharya are the main candidates this time. Film director Raj Chakraborty and actor Koushani Mukherjee are contesting on Trinamool ticket from Barrackpore and Krishnanagar North constituencies respectively.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his visit to West Bengal on Friday (April 23), citing a high-level meeting to review the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the country.

Stray incidents of violence were reported during the polls. PTI quoted TMC leaders to say that two of its activists were injured in alleged firing by security forces outside booth number 79 in Ashoknagar’s Tangra area.

TMC and BJP workers clashed in Uttar Dinajpur’s Chopra area.

Also read: Infighting, deserters keep TMC edgy in sixth phase of elections

Meanwhile, drone was used for surveillance near booth number 131-132 in Amdanga, North 24 Paraganas.  ITBP troops were pictured guarding polling booths in Purba Bardhaman’s Katwa.

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Bengal has seen a sudden rise in COVID cases, which forced the Election Commission to ask all political parties to curtail campaigning. On Wednesday, Bengal registered its highest-ever single-day rise, with 9,819 people testing positive. On Thursday (April 22), India made a new record by reporting 3,14,835 new cases and fatalities of 2,104 in a single day.