Kolkata | Jagran Politics Desk: Amid the alarming spike in coronavirus cases across the country, the fifth phase of polling for assembly elections in West Bengal ended on Saturday with a voter turnout of 78.36 per cent, said the election commission.

According to the voter turnout app of the election commission, the highest turnout was registered Jalpaiguri district at 81.73 per cent. It was followed by Purba Bardhaman (81.72 per cent), Nadia (81.57 per cent), North 24 Parganas (74.83 per cent), Darjeeling (74.31 per cent) and Kalimpong (69.56 per cent).

"Polling in 15,789 polling stations spread across 45 assembly constituencies in West Bengal phase-5 elections, bye-election in two parliamentary constituencies and 12 assembly constituencies across 10 States conducted peacefully today," said the poll body in a statement, as reported by news agency ANI.

Though the polling remained peaceful largely, spoardic violence was reported Bidhannagar's Shantinagar where eight people were injured in a clash between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers.

Clashes also erupted in North 24 Parganas' Bijpur where the saffron party claimed that the TMC workers were preventing the voters from going to the booths. The BJP also alleged that some of its booth agents in the Minakha constituency of the same district were "kidnapped" by the TMC.

However, the TMC refuted the charges and called the allegation made by the BJP "baseless", saying that the saffron party does not have enough strength to depute agents in all the booths.

The EC had deployed at least 853 companies of the central forces for Saturday's polling. The strength of one company of central force is around 100 personnel including officers.

PM Modi, Amit Shah hold mega rallies

While the fifth phase polling was underway in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minitser Amit Shah on Saturday held mega rallies and attacked the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government in the state.

While PM Modi accused Banerjee of playing politics with the dead, Shah claimed that the BJP is the only political entity which can stop infiltration in West Bengal.

Shah also attacked Banerjee over the Cooch Behar incident and said that the TMC is indulging "in politics over dead bodies". "Didi (Banerjee) is concerned with her fake secularism. She bothers only about her votebank," Shah said.

PM Modi also attacked Banerjee over Cooch Behar incident and claimed that the TMC supremo has an old habit of doing politics with dead bodies and has been trying to politicise the "unfortunate" death of five people at Sitalkuchi.

"After four phases, TMC is broken to pieces and Didi, bhatija will be vanquished after eight phases of elections (are completed)," he said.

The sixth, seventh and eighth phases of West Bengal polling will be held on April 22, 26 and 29 respectively while the declaration of results will take place on May 2.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma