In a major development following the fourth phase of the West Bengal elections which was marred by violence, the Election Commission banned the entry of politicians in Cooch Behar district for the next three days in a bid to prevent another possible law and order flare up.
The EC has extended the "silence period" from 48 hours to 72 hours
The move comes after the first major outbreak of political violence during the West Bengal elections where five persons were killed and five candidates were attacked during the fourth phase of the elections to 44 seats, on Saturday.
Four people were killed as central forces opened fire allegedly after coming under attack from locals, who "attempted to snatch their rifles", in Cooch Behar district earlier today, police said in a report by PTI.
The EC order which is being implemented with immediate effect stated, "The Election Commission of India further directs that the silence period for phase 5 (i.e.for polls scheduled on April 17) shall be extended to 72 hours and no campaigning shall be permitted during 72 hours before the close of the poll in order to ensure the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections."
The highest turnout of 79.73 per cent was registered in Cooch Behar district, followed by 76.2 per cent polling in Hoogly.
(With inputs from PTI)