Kolkata, April 17 : Amid steep rise of Covid infection, the state gears up for the fifth phase of polling where 45 assembly constituencies across 6 districts will go for the polls on Saturday. The election commission is extremely cautious after Sitalkuchi incident where four persons were killed in the firing of the central forces and has made a huge security arrangement for the fifth round of election.
On Saturday altogether 45 constituencies across six districts including Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Nadia, East Burdwan and North 24 Parganas will go for the polls. There will be polling in 16 constituencies in North 24 Parganas, 8 constituencies each in East Burdwan and Nadia, 7 constituencies in Jalpaiguri, 5 in Darjeeling and I in Kalimpong where 319 candidates will test their political future. The phase is likely to be very important because of the 45 constituencies that are going for the poll TMC got 23 seats and BJP shared the rest of the 22 in respect to the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
The total number of electors including service voters in these constituencies are 1,13,73,307 with 57,35,766 male electors and 56,11,354 female voters. The total number of polling booths are 15,789 that includes 12,263 main and 3,526 auxiliary booths. The number of 80 plus voters are 1,79,634 while 60,198 are PWD (Persons with Disabilities) voters. The total number of service electors are 2,5963, third gender voters are 290 while overseas voters are 133.
Interestingly enough the Commission has tied up with Uber for free of cost ferrying 80 plus and PWD voters to the polling booths to facilitate their voting in all the 16 ACs in North 24 Parganas on Saturday. This service will be available free of cost not only in the fifth phase but also in the 17 ACs in North 24 Parganas during the 6th phase of elections scheduled on April 22.
The Election Commission has made an adequate arrangement to avoid any kind of untoward incident and will deploy 853 companies of central forces for Saturday's elections. The highest deployment of 283 companies will be in North 24 Parganas with 69 companies each for Barasat Police District and Barrackpore Police Commissionerate, 107 companies for Basirhat and 46 companies for Bidhannagar. There will be 122 companies for seven seats in Jalpaiguri district, 68 companies for four seats in Darjeeling, 53 companies for Siliguri and 21 companies for Kalimpong with 301 booths. There will be 151 companies for the eight constituencies in Nadia district and 155 companies for 8 constituencies in East Burdwan.
The Election Commission has deployed 33 general observers, 16 expenditure observers and 12 police observers for the 5th phase of polls. There will be webcasting facilities in 50 per cent of the booths and micro observers will be deployed in 20 per cent of the booths.