Over 50 per cent voter turnout registered till 3 pm in Bengal bypolls

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Kolkata, Jul 10 (PTI) A voter turnout of 50.43 per cent was recorded till 3 pm on Wednesday in the bypolls to four assembly constituencies in West Bengal, an Election Commission official said.

Among the constituencies, Raiganj registered the highest turnout of 53.89 per cent followed by Ranaghat Dakshin (SC) 52.41 per cent, Bagdah (SC) 50.81 per cent and Maniktala at 43.78 per cent.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from Bagdah and Ranaghat Dakshin as the BJP accused TMC activists of assaulting its booth agents and stopping its candidates from visiting some polling stations.

BJP candidates Manoj Kumar Biswas and Binay Kumar Biswas from Ranaghat Dakshin and Badgah respectively claimed that they were not allowed to visit some booths.

"I was stopped from visiting the booths after I got complaints that BJP workers were being beaten up by TMC goons," Binay Kumar Biswas said.

Manoj Kumar Biswas claimed that BJP camp offices in some areas were ransacked by the TMC.

The TMC denied the allegations and dubbed them as "baseless".

The BJP also lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against these incidents.

BJP candidate Kalyan Choubey was greeted with 'go back' slogan by TMC workers as he visited a booth under Maniktala constituency in the city.

Voting started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.

Three of the constituencies - Maniktala in Kolkata, Ranaghat Dakshin in Nadia and Bagdah in North 24 Parganas - are located in the southern part of the state.

The fourth assembly constituency, Raiganj, is situated in north Bengal's Uttar Dinajpur district.

There are around 10 lakh electorates in the four assembly segments.

The BJP bagged Ranaghat Dakshin and Bagdah seats in the 2021 assembly polls. Raiganj was won by the saffron camp in the last assembly elections.

The Maniktala seat was secured by the TMC in 2021 but it became vacant after former state minister Sadhan Pandey died in February 2022.

Despite the BJP winning the other three seats in 2021, the MLAs later switched to the TMC.

The bypolls were necessitated as Krishna Kalyani from Raiganj, Biswajit Das from Bagdah and Mukut Mani Adhikari from Ranaghat Dakshin gave up their seats to contest the Lok Sabha elections.

The Election Commission has deployed around 70 companies of security forces to secure 1,097 polling booths spread across the four seats.

The counting of votes will take place on July 13. PTI SUS SCH PNT BDC RG

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