Phase V of West Bengal polls: 20% voters

All eyes will be on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is contesting from the Bhawanipur Assembly seat in the fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly polls that will take place on Saturday. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo is pitted against Congress heavyweight and former Union Minister Deepa Dasmunsi. The other important candidate in Bhawanipur is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’ grand nephew, Chandra Bose of Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP]. BJP was in lead in the Bhawanipur Assembly segment in 2014 Lok Sabha election.

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The phase — with 53 seats spread over three districts — may finally decide the winner like in previous elections. In 2014 Lok Sabha poll, TMC got 49 out of 53 Assembly segments going to poll on Saturday. The party’s performance was nearly as good in 2011 Assembly election. While on one hand TMC needs to retain the seats to stay in power, the Left-Congress alliance can put the ruling party under severe stress if they manage to offset at least 20-30 percent of seats. Even the analysts, who are nearly sure of an alliance victory in this election, indicated that this is perhaps the most critical phase of a six-phase election.

10.30 am: Poll percentage till 9 a.m.: 19.64%

Hooghly: 20.10 %

Kolkata South: 15.64 %

South 24 Parganas: 20.04 %

10.25 am: Four arrested from Port area due to unlawful gathering and disorderly conduct, says Kolkata police.

10.20 am: Trinamool leaders allege that “central forces are targeting voters to stop them from exercising their franchise”. This is done to defeat TMC, the leaders said. A left sympathiser says “outsiders are targeted, not voters,” reports our correspondent Suvojit Bagchi from Kolkata.

8.56 a.m.: Ola has rolled back Peak Pricing on its app in Kolkata today between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m to encourage citizens to to vote, says company official Piyush Surana.

8:40 am: The workers of a Birla Group plant said that only 20 of they, out of 1500, voted. They gave a call to boycott polls. However some of them said they may vote later. Water & electricity was restricted in the plant that suspended work in 2014. The workers claimed that they did not get arrears. “We had no option but to boycott poll,” said one of the workers Omprakash Giri. The plant Hindustan Motors belongs to C K Birla group, used to manufacture country’s first indigenous car, Ambassador.

8:36 am: Family members of an Independent candidate from Behala Purba Assembly seat allegedly assaulted by TMC.

8:35 am: Apart from deploying a strong contingent of 90,000 personnel of central and state police forces, the poll panel has also ordered imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPc in all constituencies. One person was arrested today in connection with the recovery of 14 crude bombs from the terrace of a local club premises in Chelta Police Station area.

8: 30 am: Independent candidate supported by Left and Congress Ambikesh Mahapatra alleges voters being prevented from casting votes in Haridevpur Police Station.

8:25 am: Voting peaceful in Bhawanipore says Congress Left Candidate Deepa Dasmunshi. Ms. Dasmunsi is contesting against Mamata Banerjee.

8:15 am: CPI(M) polling agents allegedly threatened by TMC in South 24 Parganas Sounarpur Dakshin and Canning Purba Assembly seats and Hooghly’s Khanakul area.

8:00 am: Along with the Saradha chitfund scam and ‘Syndicate raj’ (local real estate cartel for supply of building material), the Narada sting tapes has also been a major poll issue in the state.

7:40 a.m.: Violence marred the third phase of polling in the State where one person was killed in the melee.Overall, 67% of polling was recorded.

7:31 a.m.: A long queue outside a polling station in the Budge Budge Assembly seat of South 24 Parganas.

7 a.m.: Voting began at 7am for 31 constituencies in South 24 Parganas and 18 in Hooghly districts besides four in South Kolkata.

7 a.m.: Polling begins in 53 constituencies in the fifth and penultimate phase on West Bengal Assembly polls.