Kolkata | Jagran Politics Desk: The fourth phase of polling of assembly elections in West Bengal that will decide the fate of several political heavyweight candidates -- including Babul Supriyo, Locket Chatterjee, Partha Chatterjee and Arup Biswas -- concluded on Saturday with a voter turnout of 76.16 per cent.

According to the information available at the turnout app of the election commission, the maximum turnout was recorded in Bhangar at 85.12 per cent while the lowest was in Behala Purba at 66.23 per cent. Meanwhile, Tollyganj, where Union Minister Babul Supriyo is up against sitting MLA Arup Biswas, recorded a turnout of 74.83 per cent.

However, unlike previous phases, violence erupted during the polling in the fourth phase as four people lost their lives after the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) allegedly opened fire at a mob of 150 people that tried to snatch the weapons of the central forces at Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar outside the Sitalkuchi polling booth.

The CISF in a statement said that the mob allegedly tried to snatch their weapons and beat the poll officials present at the duty which forced them to resort to lathi-charge to bring the situation under control.

"CISF personnel fired two rounds in the air but mob didn't pay any heed to the warning. In the meantime, QRT of CISF and police also reached at the spot. The mob further started advancing aggressively towards CISF personnel, therefore sensing imminent danger to their life, they fired 7 more rounds towards the advancing mob of miscreants," it said in a statement.

Following the incident, the election commission suspended the voting at Polling Station 126 of Sitalkuchi Assembly Constituency. The poll body also ordered a probe and asked officials to submit a detailed report.

Meanwhile, a war of words broke out between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the two accusing each other over the incident. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee also ordered a CID probe into the incident and demanded the resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Meanwhile, a first-time voter was also shot dead on Saturday outside a polling booth in Cooch Behar. The BJP said that the victim, identified as Anand Burman, was their supporter and was allegedly killed by TMC goons outside a polling booth number 85 in the Pathantuli area.

"He was our polling agent and was going to the booth when TMC goons shot him dead. Rabindra Nath Ghosh's claim is a total lie. We have informed the SP and the ECI about the incident, demanding immediate arrest of the culprits," said BJP's Baren Chandra Barman, as reported by news agency PTI.

The TMC, however, dismissed the BJP's claim and said that the entire incident was planned by the saffron party. Meanwhile, the election commission said that a probe has been ordered over the incident.

The election commission had deployed 789 companies of central forces in 15,940 polling stations spread over the 44 constituencies for the fourth phase of polling. Each company of CAPF comprises 100 personnel including officers. The highest deployment of 187 companies of CAPF was in Cooch Behar.

The fifth phase will be held on April 17 while the sixth and seventh phases will be conducted on April 22 and April 26 respectively. The eighth and final phase of polling will be held on April 29 while the fate of the candidates will be announced on May 2.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma