Kolkata: An estimated 30 per cent turnout was recorded in the first four hours of polling for by-elections to four assembly seats — Khardah in North 24 Parganas district, Santipur in Nadia, Gosaba in South 24 Parganas and Dinhata in Cooch Behar in West Bengal.
While Santipur recorded 32 per cent voting till 11 am, Khardah, Gosaba and Dinhata registered 24, 34 and 29 per cent respectively, Election Commission data showed.
The Election Commission has deployed altogether 92 companies of central armed forces to ensure peaceful polling.
While 27 companies have been deployed in Dinhata, 22 in Santipur, 20 in Khardah and 23 in Gosaba.
The by-polls in Gosaba was necessitated as three-time Trinamool Congress MLA Jayanta Naskar passed away due to Covid, while in Khardah, party candidate Kajal Sinha breathed his last also due to Covid before counting of votes.
Dinhata and Santipur seats fell vacant as BJP MPs Nishith Pramanik and Jagannath Sarkar respectively resigned from the State Assembly and decided to retain their Lok Sabha memberships.
Veteran Trinamool Congress leader and former State Minister Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who romped home from Bhawanipur Assembly constituency, made room for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who lost her Nandigram seat to BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari in the last assembly elections.
Mamata returned to the Assembly by a thumping margin from the prestigious Bhawanipur seat in the September 30 by-election.
The Trinamool Congress bagged all the three seats of Bhawanipur here, and Jangipur and Samshergunj in Murshidabad district.
While Trinamool Congress’ Udayan Guha is contesting from Dinhata, Brajakishore Goswami is from Sanitpur, Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay from Khardah and Subrata Mandal from Gosaba.
For BJP, Niranjan Biswas is contesting from Santipur, Jay Saha is from Khardah, Ashok Mandal from Dinhata and Palash Rana from Gosaba.
Left Front constituent Forward Bloc nominee Abdur Rauf is fighting from Dinhata in Coochbehar, while RSP candidate Anil Chandra Mandal is contesting from Gosaba in South 24 Parganas and CPI-M’s Soumen Mahato and Debojyoti Das are vying from Santipur (Nadia) and Khardah in North 24 Parganas, respectively.
Counting will take place on November 2.