West Bengal final phase today
The sixth and final phase of elections to the West Bengal state assembly begins today. Around 2.6 million voters will be exercising their franchise across three districts in the south west of the state.
A total of 97 candidates are standing for the 14 seats available to the 294 seat assembly and there are 3,534 polling booths.
Because the area has been affected by Maoist incursions, there has been an unprecedented level of security put in place for the elections including helicopters, armoured vehicles and over 600 companies of the Central Police Force (CPF). Polling has also been curtailed by two hours and all polling booths will close at 3 p.m. local time to allow for ballot boxes to be secured by dusk.
The state of West Bengal has such a large electorate and is spread over a wide area which has necessitated the six phase approach. The first phase took place on 18th April, with subsequent phases on 23rd & 27th April, 3rd & 7th May. Polling in the other phases has been peaceful and polling has been heavy, as much as 80% to 85%.
Counting will take place on 13th May.