Kolkata, Apr 1 : Around 13.14 per cent of 7.5 million electorates exercised their franchise till 9 AM on Thursday in the second phase West Bengal Assembly election to 30 seats to decide the fate of 171 candidates, an Election Commission (EC) official here said.
Long queues were seen outside polling stations, where voting will continue till 6.30 PM.
As the polling for the second phase Assembly polls began this morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president J P Nadda urged voters to come out and vote in large numbers.
“I appeal to everyone to vote in large numbers. Your one vote can bring decisive change. So, come out and vote for a safer and prosperous Bengal, “said Mr Shah.
After casting his vote, BJP candidate in Nandigram constituency Suvendu Adhikari said, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee, who is contesting the elections against him, will lose the polls.
“I appeal to people to come out in large numbers to cast their vote as the whole country is looking at Nandigram. People are waiting to see if development or politics of appeasement will win here,” he said.
The chief minister, who was supposed to leave Nandigram for North Bengal during the second half of the day today, has reportedly changed her schedule. She will now stay put in Nandigram for the night and travel to North Bengal tomorrow morning. The change is perceptively to boost the morale of TMC workers in Nandigram in anticipation of the day ahead.
BJP candidate from Debra constituency Bharti Ghosh alleged voters are being threatened by TMC workers.
“In Nowpara, booth no. 22, Anchal-1, my polling agent has been surrounded by 150 TMC goons. He hasn’t been allowed to enter the polling booth. In Barunia, voters are being threatened and shown the TMC symbol,” she said.
Meanwhile, a Trinamool Congress worker was allegedly stabbed to death in Paschim Medinipur district in the early hours of Thursday, hours before polling started in the area, a senior police official said.
Unidentified miscreants killed a TMC worker with a sharp weapon last night in Dadpur village in Paschim Midnapore district, SP Pachim Midnapore said.
“Eight people have been arrested in connection with the murder,” the SP added.