Kolkata: Over 50 per cent turnout was witnessed till 1 pm in West Bengal and Assam, where the first phase polling for the Assembly elections started this morning.
According to sources, 55 per cent turnout was seen in Bengal, while Assam saw 51 per cent.
Polling booths in both States opened amid tight security at 7 am and will close at 6 pm; polling has been extended by an hour due to the Covid pandemic.
The Trinamool and the BJP have traded barbs and allegations over voter manipulation. Suvendu Adhikari, the ex-Trinamool MLA whose crossover to the BJP triggered a spat with Banerjee, demanded suspension of police officers in Haldi and Nandigram for helping the ruling party in rigging the polls. Adhikari’s brother – Soumendu Adhikari, who has also joined the BJP – claimed people were stopped from voting in Contai.
A delegation of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders is set to meet the Election Commission of India today after the party raised concerns over the voting percentage on the poll body’s mobile application.
“What is happening @ECISVEEP?! Could you explain how voting percentage drastically reduced to half within a gap of just 5 minutes?! Shocking! @CEOWestBengal, please look into this urgently!” the TMC tweeted.
It also posted two screenshots of the Election Commission’s voter turnout app. According to the pictures, the voter turnout in Assembly seats in the Purbo Medinipur district rose by over 10 per cent in five minutes.
The Mamata Banerjee-led party also alleged that people voted for us but VVPAT showed them BJP symbol.
Meanwhile, a BJP delegation led by party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya will also meet CEO West Bengal today.
In West Bengal, 30 seats are going to polls in the first phase, which includes constituencies in Purulia and Jhargram and segments of Bankura, Purba Medinipur, and Paschim Medinipur.
The first phase of polling will decide the electoral fate of 191 candidates, including 21 women candidates.
In Assam, 47 constituencies across 12 districts are going to polls in the first of the two-phased poll for a total of 126 members Assam Assembly.
264 candidates are in the fray from 47 seats – 42 seats from 11 districts of Upper Assam and northern Assam region and five seats from central Assam’s Nagaon district going to polls in the first phase.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged voters to turn out in record numbers and exercise their right to vote as polling for the first phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal and Assam began today morning.
“Today, Phase 1 of the West Bengal Assembly elections begin. I would request all those who are voters in the seats polling today to exercise their franchise in record numbers,” Modi said in a tweet.