Braving the rains, the election commission is fully prepared to conduct the election in three assembly constituencies including high-profile Bhabanipur assembly constituency where chief minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting where she needs to win mandatorily if she is supposed to retain her position as the chief minister, after she lost to Trinamool turned BJP Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram assembly constituency in the recently concluded assembly polls in the state.
The Bhabanipur assembly seat became vacant after TMC veteran Sovondeb Chattopadhyay resigned making room for the chief minister. There was no election in the other two assembly constituencies - Samserganj and Jangipur - both in Murshidabad in the recently concluded assembly polls because the contesting candidate died just before the poll day.
Though there are three bye-elections in the state, the entire focus will be on Bhabanipur and so the election commission, apart from the 15 companies, has pumped in an additional 20 companies of central forces that will be deployed for patrolling duty. With this the total forces deployed in Bhabanipur is 35 companies.
There has been widespread allegation that the ruling Trinamool Congress threatens voters and stops them from going to the voting centres and so the commission is taking no chances.
Though there has been a deployment of 2,250 state forces but there will be no deployment of state forces inside the polling stations. "The 15 companies of central forces that are presently stationed in the constituency will take care of the polling stations. There will be two state force personnel outside the polling station to manage the queue but the responsibility of the security will rest entirely on the central forces," the official added.
Besides announcing all the 287 booths to be sensitive, the election commission will deploy micro-observer in all the booths. "The commission also announced 13 booths to be super-sensitive. Mitra Institution - the booth where chief minister Mamata Banerjee is supposed to cast her vote has also been declared as super-sensitive. There will be web-casting not only in the super-sensitive booths but also many other booths. The election commission will keep a close watch on the development of the election process," the official added.
Considering the incessant rains in Kolkata for the last few days the commission has made an unprecedented arrangement to take the people to the polling stations. The commission has asked all the people to call on the 1950 phone number if they can't go to their respective polling stations. The commission will make arrangements to bring the voters to the booths and send them back home after their vote is over. The administration is also keeping NDRF teams and two boats ready for any emergency situation.
The total number of electors including service voters in Bhowanipore is 2,06,522. There are 5 overseas electors and 4 third genders. The total number of polling stations in Bhowanipore is 287 with 269 main and 18 auxiliary polling stations. 12 candidates are in the fray at Bhowanipore.
Meanwhile, the total number of voters including service electors in Samserganj and Jangipur are 2,35,576 and 2,55066 respectively. The number of polling stations are 329 and 363 respectively. Webcasting will be done in 176 polling stations in Samserganj and 193 in Jangipur. Micro-observers will be present in 68 and 20 polling stations. 19 and 18 companies of armed forces will be deployed at Shamsherganj and Jangipur respectively.
TMC nominee Jakir Hossain will contest in Jangipur against Sujit Das of BJP and Jane Alam Mian of the Left Front while in Samsherganj TMC nominee Amirul Islam is locking horns with Milan Ghosh of BJP and Modasar Hossain of CPM.