Kolkata: Security measures has heightened in West Bengal in view of the violence in the previous phases as 35 assembly constituencies go to polls in the eighth and final phase on Thursday, amid a raging second wave of COVID-19.
The poll panel has decided to deploy at least 641 companies of central forces, including 224 in Birbhum district, in the eighth phase to ensure free and fair voting, said an Election Commission Official.
The poll panel will also put in place measures to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols during the voting process, the official added.
Campaigning for the eighth and final phase has been a low-key affair, following curbs imposed by the EC in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 cases in the state. The EC had banned roadshows and vehicle rallies in the state and also disallowed any public meeting with more than 500 people during the campaigning as part of COVID protocol norms
Leaders of political parties chose either the virtual platform or small street-corner meetings for campaigning, which ended on April 26 evening.
Over 84 lakh voters will decide the political fate of 283 candidates. Voting will be held at 11,860 polling stations spread over 11 assembly constituencies each in Murshidabad and Birbhum, six in Malda and seven in Kolkata.
Two TMC ministers - Shashi Panja and Sadhan Pandey - are contesting from Shyampukur and Maniktala seats in north Kolkata respectively. Three-cornered contests are expected in many of the 17 constituencies in Malda and Murshidabad districts where the Left-Congress-ISF combine has a stronghold apart from the TMC and the BJP.