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In the poll-bound West Bengal, polling for the Sixth Phase of Assembly Elections is progressing smoothly.
 
The average voter turnout was registered at 57.30 percent till 01.30 P.M. 

The people were seen standing in long queues in front of the Polling Stations right from the beginning.
 
The polling, which began at 7.00 A.M., will be conducted till 6.30 P.M. in the 43 Assembly Constituencies spread over four districts going to polls today.
 
The state is witnessing eight-phase elections.
 
All the necessary facilities and security arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair polling during this phase.
 
The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is being used along with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at every Polling Station, with a view to enhancing the transparency and credibility of the election process and the availability of an adequate number of EVMs and VVPATs has already been ensured for the smooth conduct of elections.
 
In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the option of Postal Ballot facility has been extended to the electors who are COVID- 19 positive or suspect as certified by the competent authority and are in-home or institutional quarantine along with those marked as Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and above the age of 80 years.
 
It has also been ensured that every Polling Station is equipped with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like drinking water, waiting shed, toilet with water facility, adequate arrangements for lighting, the ramp of the appropriate gradient for the Persons with Disabilities.
 
The special facilities include mandatory sanitization of Polling Station, thermal checking of voters at entry point either by polling staff or paramedical staff or an Asha worker.
 
If the temperature is above the set norms of the Health Ministry, then the elector will be provided with a token and asked to come for voting at the last hour of the poll.
 
At the last hour of the poll, such electors will be facilitated for voting, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures.
 
The polling process is already over in respect of 180 out of total of 294 Assembly seats in the earlier five phases.
 
During the Sixth Phase, total of 306 candidates including 27 women are vying for the 43 Assembly seats spread over four districts of West Bengal.
 
Over 1.03 crore voters including 50.65 lakh women and 256 Third Gender persons will decide the fate of these candidates.
 
Total 14,480 Polling Stations have been set up for this purpose.
 
Ruling AITC and Bharatiya Janata Party are contesting for all the 43 seats. Congress, the Left parties and their alliance partner Indian Secular Front are fighting under the banner of Sanyukta Morcha.
 
BSP has fielded 37 candidates, CPI (M) has 23, Congress - 12, AIFB - four, and CPI two while there are 82 independents along with 60 others are also in the fray.
 
The prominent candidates participating in this phase include State Ministers and AITC candidates Ujjal Biswas from Krishnanagar Dakshin, Swapan Debnath from Purbasthali Dakshin, and Chandrima Bhattacharya along with CPI (M) leader Tanmoy Bhattacharya from Dumdum Uttar while BJP National Vice President Mukul Roy is contesting from Krishnanagar Uttar and Senior Congress leaders Mohit Sengupta from Raiganj and Abdus Sattar is also in the fray from Baduria.
 
Former AITC Minister Abdul Karim Chowdhary has entered the electoral battle from Islampur, Pundrikaksha Saha from Nabdweep, and CPI leader Srikumar Mukherjee from Itahar while AITC leader Jyotipriya Mallick and BJP leader Rahul Sinha are also trying their luck from Habra.
 
Meanwhile, the election campaign is in full swing for the Seventh as well as the Eighth and Final Phase of the Assembly Elections as the prominent leaders of different political parties engaging in whirlwind tours for canvassing in favor of their candidates.
 
In the wake of COVID-19, all the prominent political parties decided not to hold big rallies and public meetings in West Bengal.
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