Voting is as much an obligation as it is a right. No compulsion of course, as ours is a free nation. But we do owe this to our country as we the people form the backbone of the very fabric of the idea of India – a democratic nation. And the entire edifice of that is built on the basis of voting. If we as citizens are not aware or bothered about casting votes or worse, treat the Election Day as nothing more than a holiday, it will lay the survival of our democratic Republic on the line.
West Bengal, tucked away to the eastern most part of India, is fondly called as the City of Joys. A state marred (both in a good way and bad way) by the leftist principles that reigned the place for years, the elections there have often beheld quite a few vicious clashes. People there are said to be overtly politically conscious and the first thing they want to get their hands on after turning 18 is their voters ID card. A total number of 294 assembly constituencies are there in the state and 42 Member if Parliaments as of now. Casting your vote to choose a government representative in your electorate mandates you to have a voter ID card. Without this you cannot vote. Simple. Let us explore on the importance, procedures and know hows of getting and utilizing a voter ID card in West Bengal.
How to Apply for Voter ID Online in West Bengal
This page is dedicated for people who are looking for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for voter ID card online in West Bengal.
If you are resident Bengali, who wishes to register yourself as a voter, here is such a guide to take you through the entire procedure:
- To commence with the process, first go to the official website of West Bengal CEO (www.ceowestbengal.nic.in) and you will be led to their home page with servile sectors and mapping panel to other sections of the portal.
- As a new voter ID card applicant from West Bengal, please open the Form 6 (application form). You can choose your regional language or English to fill in the form.
- You should also sign up for a new user account with your personal email id and mobile phone number. Once you are successfully registered, a confirmation email and SMS will be sent to your email and mobile respectively.
- You can start entering details asked on Form 6 after you register and confirm.
- Once you entered the required credentials, you will be asked to upload a passport sized photo (which has to be less than 350 kb of size to be accepted).
- You shall also attach or upload your supporting KYC documents that serve as an identity proof, proof of age as well as proof of residence. It could be a copy of your Aadhar card, passport, driving license, utility bill, SSLC Book among others.
- Done with uploading all the documents? Now it is time to finally submit the application form (Form 6) to the website of Chief Election Officer of West Bengal.
- In two or three weeks your verification process will begin. A booth level officer will be sent to check the legality and accuracy of all the documents submitted.
- If all the info and paperwork are up to the mark and accurate, you will be sent your new voter ID card in four or five weeks by post.
- Please note that if you are a school, college or university student, then you must also provide another declaration duly attested by the principal of your institute.
Election Forms Available in WB
There are many elections forms listed on the site. Each form is fashioned for different purpose. You need to be careful to get the correct form.
The form names and their purposes are given below:
- Form 6 (Application for inclusion of name in electoral roll)
- Form 7 (Application form for objection/ deletion of a name in electoral roll)
- Form 8 (Application form for correction of details given)
- Form 8 A (to apply for transposition of an entry in the electoral roll).
How to Apply for Voter ID Card Offline in West Bengal
No matter how user-friendly or hassle free the government has made the online application process, not everyone has the means or familiarity with current technology, particularly in rural areas. And West Bengal with the obvious exception of Kolkata is replete with quaint rural places. These folks can still apply for a voter ID card offline in West Bengal by going to the concerned (that is, nearest) electoral office to collect the relevant form.
Please follow the below steps for the same:
- Secure the application form (Form 6) from among the other listed forms from your nearest electoral office.
- Fill in as directed. Double check to ensure that there are no errors in the details you have provided.
- Along with the correct form for application, as in a duly filled Form 6, you should also submit other KYC documents as required. These documents serve as proofs of age, identity and residence.
- You must also remember to specify details of your family members who already have election ID card. If their name is already in the electoral roll, it will speed up your verification.
- Go to the nearest Regional Electoral Registration Office to submit the form and documents. After approval and verification from the office comes the next step, which is the Booth Level Officer (BLOs) being sent by the ERO to verify every information in person.
- To see that all listed voters are given a voter ID, regular drives are organized by the Election Commission of India (ECI) at Designated Photographic Locations (DPIs). You are sure to have come across one.
How to track status in West Bengal
Tracking Voter ID Status Online
The facility to track your voter ID application is not available on the West Bengal CEO website(http://ceowestbengal.nic.in/). You can search for your name in the electoral rolls to ensure that your name has been included.
- Visit the Search page(http://election.uk.gov.in/) on the website.
- You can search District wise or Assembly Constituency wise.
- Enter either your name and relation’s name, or EPIC number.
- Click on “Search” to get your results.
Tracking Voter ID status via SMS
To track your Voter ID status, you can send the following SMS:
- WB EC voter ID number to 51969
- Voter ID number to 9433633333
You will be provided with your electoral details such as your number, name of assembly constituency, part number and details of the polling booth.
Calling on the Dedicated ECI Helpline Number
You can call the ECI Helpline number 1950 toll free. The helpline is available on all working days between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Verification process of the Voter ID card in West Bengal
The role of West Bengal election commissioners in the processing and verification of information provided by prospective voters is highly significant as they structure and organize the voter list of qualified applicants in a timely and seamless manner. They conduct Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections as well as look after Gram Panchayat elections. Yes, their responsibilities are huge and ongoing.
Once your form is submitted, the verification process starts. The state CEO is in charge of this. A booth level officer assigned for various regions will call at your home to validate your given residential address along with all the papers provided. The verification will take at least 60 days, after which you will be sent your new voter id card. It will be sent by post by the district level officer of election commission.
How to Apply for Duplicate Voter ID Card in West Bengal
Needless to say, Voter ID Card is one of the most essential document every citizen must have as it is provided by the government itself. That is why if you lose it, you must lose no time in reporting the loss to the police as well as applying for a duplicate voter id. The whole process commences with procuring the right duplicate voter ID card form that can be collected from your regional state election commissioner’s office. You also have the option to download it from the state CEO website.
However before you apply for a duplicate voter ID card in West Bengal, there are a few legal measures to be completed as explained below:
- First and foremost, the moment you find that you lost your voters ID, go to the police station in your jurisdiction to file an FIR. It should contain elaboration on the circumstances in which the card is lost or stolen. Keep a copy of FIR with you in case the election commission officer requests for it.
- Now you may either collect the 002 form (for duplicate voter ID card applicants) from your regional election commission office or download it directly from their online portal yourself.
- Fill the form as directed as per the given guidelines and submit it by affixing an FIR copy, proof of age, residence and a copy of photo ID to it. It could be anything from a copy of SSLC book, utility bill, driving license, passport, Aadhaar card, rental/ lease agreement among others.
Process of Voter ID Card Correction Online in West Bengal
Here comes the role of Form 8. The Form 8 is especially useful for those people who find any kind of mistakes on their new voter ID card. And these alteration or correction has to be made at the earliest as this is your ID proof as well. At times you might also end up receiving the incorrect voter ID card altogether. To get these corrections done online without the added bother of visiting to the regional electoral office many times, you can simply download the Form 8 and fill it. After submission of the form with relevant documentation, the same verification process involving a Booth Level official coming to your place of residence to validate all the information provided. Once this hurdle is jumped, you will get the renewed voter ID card.
Process of Voter ID Card Correction Offline in West Bengal
Government is well aware that online services are not accessed by all and always make provisions to correct voter ID offline as well. If you do not want to do the voter id correction process online, you may call at your regional electoral office and ask for the Form 8 from there. Fill it as per the guidelines and submit it. If they ask you for supporting documents for proof needed for the requested alteration, please provide that.. For example, if you are recently married and think it a good idea to change your surname, you will be asked for the copy of your marriage certificate. Post submission, the verification process of sending a Booth Level officer to your place to check your details directly will ensue. After satisfactory scrutiny, you will be given the newly updated voter ID card.
Process of changes of Address for Voter Card Online in West Bengal
Has your residential address been printed incorrectly in the Voter ID card issued in West Bengal? Or have you relocated your residence to a new assembly constituency or a city? In all the above cases, you need to make sure that the address is updated accordingly as soon as possible in your Voter ID card too. This is not as tedious a process as it was a few years ago, thanks to the most modern online services.
You can follow the below steps for the same:
- Log in to the Chief Electoral Officer’s using your credentials received at the time of application. Click on ‘Electoral Services’ seen on the home page.
- Click on the option ‘Change of Address’ and a form will be displayed on screen.
- Please enter the EPIC number. If you do not have it with you, you can also click on ‘Don’t know EPIC’, the system will request for your district and constituency by which your number can be tracked.
- Enter the new and old address as asked and agree to the declaration (that the information given is correct). Click on submit after which the usual review and verification by an officer follow. You will soon get the new card.
Process of changes of Address for Voter Card Offline in West Bengal
You can also opt for the old fashioned way, which is acquiring Form 8 A in person from the relevant regional office and doing as directed by any staff there.
The procedure on how to go about the change of address in Voter ID in West Bengal is elaborated below:
- Duly fill and sign the form number 8 A which is specifically designed for this purpose.
- With all required documents for new address such as utility bill, passport, aadhar card or ration card affixed on the form, submit the form at your nearest Electorate office.
- The Election Commission Office will analyze your form and will send a new, modified Voter ID card to your new address.
West Bengal Elections 2019
The Lok Sabha election for 2019 in West Bengal will be conducted in five different phases. The election dates are April 17, 24, 30 and May 7 and 12. The results of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 in West Bengal were as follows:
|Name of the political party||Number of seats won|
|All India Trinamool Congress (TMC)||34|
|Communist Party of India (CPI)||2|
|Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)||2|
|Indian National Congress (INC)||4|
Facts about politics in West Bengal
The politics in West Bengal has been dominated by Communist parties. After a period of 40 years, Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee came into power in the state during the legislative assembly elections in 2011. The party won the elections by a huge margin again in 2016.
Chief minister Fof West Bengal
The current chief minister of West Bengal is Mamata Banerjee of All India Trinamool Congress (TC). The list of previous chief ministers of West Bengal are:
|Name of the political party||Number of seats won|
|Bidhan Chandra Roy||26 January 1950 to 30 March 1952, 31 March 1952 to 5 April 1957, 6 April 1957 to 2 April 1962 and 3 April 1962 to 1 July 1962|
|Prafulla Chandra Sen||9 July 1962 to 28 February 1967|
|Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee||1 March 1967 to 21 November 1967|
|Prafulla Chandra Ghosh||21 November 1967 to 19 February 1968|
|Vacant||20 February 1968 to 25 February 1969|
|Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee||25 February 1969 to 16 March 1970|
|Vacant||19 March 1970 to 30 July 1970 and 30 July 1970 to 2 April 1971|
|Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee||2 April 1971 to 28 June 1971|
|Vacant||29 June 1971 to 20 March 1972|
|Siddartha Shankar Ray||20 March 1972 to 30 April 1977|
|Vacant||30 April 1977 to 20 June 1977|
|Jyoti Basu||21 June 1977 to 23 May 1982, 24 May 1982 to 29 March 1987, 30 March 1987 to 18 June 1991, 19 June 1991 to 15 May 1996 and 16 May 1996 to 5 November 2000|
|Buddhadeb Bhattacharya||6 November 2000 to 14 May 2001, 15 May 2001 to 17 May 2006 and 18 May 2006 to 13 May 2011|
|Mamata Banerjee||20 May 2011 to 25 May 2016 and 26 May 2016 to present|
Election commissioner of West Bengal
The current election commissioner of West Bengal is Sunil Gupta.
Updates on Upcoming Election in West Bengal
Polls begin for the penultimate phase of the 6-phase election in the West Bengal Assembly Elections of 2016. The polls will determine 53 constituencies comprising of 31 seats in South 24 Parganas, 18 seats in Hooghly, besides the 4 seats in South Kolkata.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting from the Bhawanipur Assembly seat in the fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly polls. Former Union Minister Deepa Dasmunsi is contesting from Congress against Banerjee. Chandra Bose from BJP is also another important candidate in Bhawanipur. He is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's grandnephew. In 2014 Lok Sabha election, BJP took the lead in the Bhawanipur Assembly segment.
TMC needs to retain seats in order to stay in power. If the Left-Congress alliance can offset at least 20% to 30% of the seats, they will be able to put serious stress on the ruling party. Out of the 6 phases, this is perhaps the most critical phase and may determine a winner.
The 5th phase saw a turnout of 78.25% of people with their voter’s IDs casting their votes.
Live updates on West Bengal Assembly Elections 2016 - Phase 5:
The voter turnout hits 78.25% in the fifth phase of West Bengal assembly polls.
Total turnout of voters up till 5:00 p.m. - 78.25%
|South 24 Parganas||79.69%|
Total turnout of voters up till 3:00 p.m. - 72.19%
|South 24 Parganas||73.19%|
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, casts vote at Mitra Institution.
27 people in total are arrested on grounds of unlawful gathering and disorderly conduct.
|Locality||Number of people arrested|
Total turnout of voters up till 1:00 p.m. - 57.10%
|South 24 Parganas||58.24%|
Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar stated that the Election Commission has ordered an FIR to be lodged against Deputy Speaker and Trinamool Congress leader Sonali Guha for instructions given to assault the CPI-M polling agent. Ms. Guha is contesting in South 24 Parganas from the Satgachia Assembly seat.
Ms. Sonali Guha, Deputy Speaker and Trinamool Congress leader of West Bengal Assembly is seen giving instructions via the phone to “beat and drive away the CPI-M agent”. TV News channels cover the incident with a video of her saying “Thrash the CPM agent, they have done something to the EVM.”
Ms. Sonali Guha complains that the EVM was malfunctioning in a booth in her constituency, and no action was taken by the Election Commission. Ms. Guha staged a sit-in protest. She is contesting the polls from Satgachia in South 24 Parganas district.
Riya Sarkar, thanks the Election Commission for the opportunity to stand for elections. Riya is the first transgender presiding officer from Rash Behari Assembly segment. Riya is a school teacher and stated that no one can stop her from playing a more meaningful role in society.
Total turnout of voters up till 11:00 a.m. - 39.81%
|South 24 Parganas||39.81%|
Asim Patra's wife Mamata and daughter Aparna were allegedly threatened by TMC workers. Asim Patra is the election agent of Ambikesh Mahapatra.
BDS team reaches spot of bomb reports. Three crude bombs were recovered from the roadside on 489 Keyatala Lane. Bombs remain unclaimed, but the BDS team has disposed of them and completed a thorough search. The CAPF team with OC has also conducted a search of the area.
Total turnout of voters up till 9:00 a.m. - 19.64%
|South 24 Parganas||20.04%|
Kolkata Police report that they have arrested four people from the Port area due to unlawful gathering and disorderly conduct.
"Central forces are targeting voters to stop them from exercising their franchise", TMC leaders allege. The leaders believe these are measures taken to defeat TMC.
In order to encourage citizens to vote, Ola held back its Peak Pricing on the app in Kolkata between 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Workers of a Birla Group Plant boycott the polls. Only 20 workers out of 1,500 cast their vote.
Some workers plan on voting later. Electricity and water was restricted in this plant where work has been suspended in 2014. The workers claim they had no option but to boycott the polls as they did not receive their arrears. This plant belongs to C.K. Birla group and was Hindustan Motors which manufactured the Ambassador, India’s first indigenous car.
The family members of an independent candidate contesting from Behala Purba Assembly seat were allegedly assaulted by TMC.
The poll panel takes extra security measure by imposing prohibitory orders in all constituencies under Section 144 of the CrPc. Around 90,000 personnel from the central and state police forces were already deployed to maintain order and peace.
One person was arrested in connection with the discovery of 14 crude bombs on the terrace of a local club falling in the Chelta Police Station area. The bombs have been recovered.
An independent candidate, who is backed by Left and Congress Ambikesh Mahapatra, alleges that voters are being prevented from casting their votes in Haridevpur Police Station.
Left and Congress Former Union Minister Deepa Dasmunshi states that the voting is peaceful in Bhawanipore. Ms. Deepa is contesting against Mamata Banerjee.
TMC allegedly threatens the CPI(M) polling agents in Canning Purba, Sonarpur Dakshin, South 24 Parganas, and Hooghly Khanakul area.
The Narada Sting tapes have a major effect on the polls in the state, along with the Saradha chit fund scam and Syndicate Raj. Syndicate Raj refers to the local real estate cartel of the supply of materials for buildings.
The third phase of polling is marred by violence resulting in the death of one person during the scuffle. A total of 67% of the polling was recorded.
In South 24 Parganas, a polling station in the Budge Budge Assembly seat sees a long queue outside.
Voters cast their votes from 7:00 a.m. for 31 constituencies in South 24 Parganas and 18 constituencies in Hooghly districts, besides the 4 constituencies in South Kolkata.
Polls opens in 53 constituencies in the penultimate and fifth phase of West Bengal Assembly.
UPDATE- Final Day of Polling for West Bengal Elections 2016
In what has turned out to be an exhaustive month long exercise, the West Bengal assembly elections-2016, has finally reached its final phase of polling today. This phase corresponds to voting in the Cooch Behar and East Midnapore districts and includes 25 assembly constituencies. Polling began at 7am IST and is currently underway.
Constituencies-25 (9 in Cooch Behar and 16 in East Midnapore districts)
Polling Stations-6,774 (includes 9 auxiliary booths)
Candidates- 170 (including 18 female candidates)
Major Parties-Trinamool Congress (all seats), BJP (all seats), Left Front (18 seats), Congress (4 seats).
Historic Relevance- The residents of the former enclaves in Cooch Behar are voting for the first time, as part of the Indian democratic system. Today marks the end of their nearly 7 decades long struggle for acceptance- and are formally recognized as part of West Bengal, India. In total, there are 9,776 first time voters.
Thus far, elections have been completed in the following order- 1st Phase (49 seats), 2nd Phase (56 seats), 3rd Phase (62 seats), 4th Phase (49 seats) and 5th Phase (53 seats).
Election Commission of West Bengal
The election commission of West Bengal is run under the guidance of the Chief Electoral Officer Mr. Sunil Kumar Gupta. The office itself, the Election Commision, is governed by the rules and guidelines issued by the ELection Commision of India. It is the duty of the State Election Commission to ensure fair and smooth elections in the state. They are also responsible to ensuring that all the candidates are registered properly and that every citizen in the state has the opportunity to vote made available to them.
To that end here are some of the roles and responsibilities fulfilled by the election commision.
Services Offered to Voters by the Election Commission
|Voter Registration||Allows for voters to register both online and offline. Provides a link to the National Voters Service Portal to allow new and overseas voters to register online.|
|Correction of details in EPIC||Provides a link to the National Voters Service Portal, through their website, which can be used to correct any detail of the voters lists.|
Provides all the forms for the following on their website:
|Voter List||Publishes voters lists so that citizens can search for their names on said lists.|
|Complaint redressal||Looks into any complaints made by a person and also allows such complaints to be registered|
Election services offered
|Administration of elections||The EC provides a list of all the officers that are responsible for various aspects of conducting elections in the state.|
|Candidate details||The EC also provides lists and details of all candidates contesting elections from various parts of the state|
|Election results||Another detail provided by the EC are the election results for the most recent ones and those that took place in the past.|
|Contact details||The EC also maintains contact details of its officers and a toll free number that can be used by people who wish to speak to the EC.|