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West Bengal Election 2021 LIVE updates: Voting for phase 3 in 31 seats begins; 618 companies of CAPF deployed

West Bengal Election 2021 LIVE updates: In this phase, elections will be held in parts of rural Howrah, the Sunderban region, the Diamond Harbour and Baruipur belts in the South 24 Parganas, and parts of the Hooghly district

File image of voters queuing up outside a polling booth. PTI

West Bengal Election 2021 LATEST updates: The third phase of the West Bengal Assembly election will be held on Tuesday amid tight security and COVID-19 protocols.

In this phase, elections will be held in parts of rural Howrah, the Sunderban region, the Diamond Harbour and Baruipur belts in the South 24 Parganas, and parts of the Hooghly district. The third phase of polling will cover a total of 31 constituencies.

A total of 78,52,425 voters will decide the fate of 205 candidates in the 31 seats. Of them, 39,93,280 are males, 38,58,902 females and 243 third gender voters.

In all, 10,871 polling stations have been set up in the Assembly constituencies, where elections will be held from 7 am to 6.30 pm.

At least 618 companies of central forces will be deployed in this phase, Election Commission sources told PTI, adding that all the booths have been identified as “sensitive”.

The EC allocated the highest 396 companies of central forces for the 5,544 booths in the three police districts in the South 24 Parganas — Baruipur, Diamond Harbour and Sundarban.

Key battles

The 16 seats in South 24 Parganas, going to the polls in this phase, are the most affected by cyclone Amphan that hit the state amid the lockdown last May. Significantly, these are TMC strongholds, having massive grassroots organisation, with many being part of Abhishek Banerjee’s Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha seat.

However, the allegations of corruption in Amphan relief and the rise of ISF in certain pockets are among the factors that are being closely watched for their potential to affect the TMC’s fortunes.

The seven seats going to the polls in Howrah, another TMC stronghold in its south Bengal bastion, are mostly in the rural areas of the district. The TMC won 15 of the 16 seats in this district in the 2016 assembly elections. However, the switching over of state minister Rajib Banerjee, a senior TMC leader of the district, to the BJP ahead of the elections is being closely watched for its potential to sway the polls.

Elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are being held in eight phases. The first two phases were on 27 March and 1 April. Votes will be counted on 2 May.

West Bengal Election 2021 LIVE updates Voting for phase 3 in 31 seats begins 618 companies of CAPF deployed

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