NEW DELHI: Voting for the first phase of assembly elections on eighteen seats in Maoist-affected areas in West Bengal and 65 seats in Assam began on Monday morning, amidst tight security.
133 candidates are trying their luck from the constituencies falling under the districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura.
Out of these, 13 have been roughly classified as Left Wing Extremism-affected areas by the Election Commission where voting will end early by 4 pm due to security reasons.
In the remaining five constituencies of Purulia, Manbazar, Kashipur, Para and Raghunathpur voting will go on for two hours extra till 6 pm.
In Assam, the ruling Congress, the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance and the AIUDF are locked in a keen battle for deciding the fate of 539 candidates in 65 of the 126 constituencies.
An electorate of 95,11,732 including 45,95,712 women, will exercise their franchise in 12,190 polling stations with the number of hyper-sensitive and sensitive booths yet to be released by the election office here.
Security has been tightened across the state with the Indo-Bangla border along Barak Valley’s Karimganj district sealed and more than 40,000 security personnel deployed in the 65 constituencies spread across Upper Assam, hill districts, northern banks and Barak Valley.
More than 48,000 polling personnel have been deployed in the first phase with those in remote areas leaving for their respective polling booths since Friday evening.
Bengal poll percentage
Average poling till 3pm – 75.61%
District wise breakup
West Midnapore – 78.08%
Purulia – 73.85%
Bankura – 74.61 %
The first phase of polling in Assam on Monday witnessed 66.95 percent voter turnout till 3 p.m.
Till 11 a.m. a 19 percent voter turnout was recorded, while there was 12 percent voter turnout till 9 a.m. in the morning.
Sixty-five of the 126 Assembly constituencies in Assam went to the polls today, deciding the fate of 539 candidates, including high-profile ones like Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the Bharatiya Janata Party?s (BJP) Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal.
West Bengal: Votes polled till 1:00 pm – 63.30%
District wise breakup of poll percentage
West Midnapore – 65.45%
Bankura – 62.15%
Purulia – 61.95%
In West Midnapore’s Salboni, BJP candidate Dhiman Koley claimed that his polling agent was kidnapped and beaten up.
Updates from Assam
People lining up to vote at a polling centre for Ward Number 15-16 of Jorhat Constituency.
Polling officer Siba Prasad Saikia says that the voter turnout has been ‘very healthy’.
“Of the 1200 plus voters we have in ward 15-16, over 300 have cast their vote by now,” he said. He added that it looks like Assam may have a record turnout this time.
82-year-old Nibir Rajbongshi said that he is voting for peace. He cast his vote at ward 15-16 polling centre in Jorhat constituency.
Displaying image.jpegDisplaying image.jpeg(With inputs from Amrita Madhukalya @visually_kei )
West Bengal Updates
In Purulia district, the EVM malfunctioned at Kasturba Vidyapith as a result of which, polling was stopped for a short while. The machine was later replaced and immediately, polling resumed.
In Purulia district’s Balarampur, two Trinamool Congress polling agents were seen standing next to the EVM asking voters allegedly trying to influence them at polling booth 239 of Gara Fusra Primary School. Within 15 minutes of news channels beaming the visuals, the Election Commission took cognisance and replaced the Presiding Officer and deployed more Central Force jawans.
In Purulia’s Raghunathpur, Election Commission removed state police personnel from Pachudanga School for trying to intimidate voters.
In Bankura’s Raipur, two polling booths – Narayanpur High School and Chaknara Primary School, the EVMs were unguarded. Central Force stopped the polling process, asked the Presiding Officer to cover the EVMs immediately and polling resumed.
In Bankura’s Taldanga polling booth, state police officials were seen manning the booth. Central Force jawans were seen outside the polling booth.
(With inputs from Pooja Mehta)
18% voter turnout in WB, 12% in Assam till 9 am
The first phase of polling in West Bengal witnessed 18 percent electorates casting their votes till 9 am.
Assam saw 12% voter turnout till 9 am.
Tarun Gogoi casts his vote
“I will be the Chief Minister. I don’t think its a tough battle,” said Tarun Gogoi speaking to media.
Assam: Among the 539 candidates in the fray, 496 are males and 43 females in 45 constituencies of the Brahmaputra Valley, five in the two hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao and 15 in the Barak Valley.
The prominent Congress candidates in the fray are Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi from Titabor, Speaker of the outgoing assembly Pranab Gogoi from Sibsagar, former Union Minister and prominent tea tribe leader Paban Singh Ghatowar and Assam Ministers Gautam Roy, Sarat Barkotoky, Ajanta Neog, Khorsingh Engti, Siddeque Ahmed, Bismita Gogoi, Sumitra Patir and Girindra Malik among others.