Kolkata/Guwahati: The first phase of Assembly polls in West Bengal and Assam passed off peacefully yesterday with a high voter turnout of 80 per cent and 70 per cent, respectively. Voting in 18 of the 294 Assembly constituencies in West Bengal and 65 of the 126 seats in Assam was ‘by and large peaceful’ with no reports of violence-related death or injury, DEC Sandeep Saxena said in New Delhi.
A Central Force jawan checks voter identity cards at a polling booth during the first phase of West Bengal Assembly Elections in West Medinipur
In West Bengal, where Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) is making a determined bid for a second successive term, heavy voter turnout was recorded with an estimated 80 per cent of 40.09 lakh electors casting their ballots. Most of these constituencies are in areas where Maoists held sway before TMC came to power and neutralised them. Banerjee’s TMC, which contested the last Assembly polls in alliance with the Congress, is pitted this time against foe-turned-friends Congress-Left combine, besides the BJP, which is seeking to make inroads into the politically volatile eastern state.
Women stand in a queue showing their voter card in Jorhat during the first phase of Assam state assembly elections. Pics/PTI
In Assam, where the Congress, under Tarun Gogoi is seeking a fourth straight term, an estimated 70 per cent of little over 95.11 lakh voters cast their ballots. There were no reports of violence from any of the 65 of the 126 constituencies, where polling was held in the first phase. Seeking to capitalise on anti-incumbency factor and a host of contentious issues, including the divisive debate on ‘nationalism’, BJP has tied up with former chief minister Prafulla Mahanta’s AGP and Bodo People’s Front in its bid to dislodge the Congress from power in the north eastern state. The fate of several prominent Congress candidates, including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi from Titabor and Speaker of the outgoing Assembly Pranab Gogoi from Sibsagar will be decided in the first phase.
Chennai: Stealing a march over arch rival DMK, the ruling AIADMK yesterday released its list of 227 candidates for the May 16 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls and CM Jayalalithaa is all set to seek re-election from RK Nagar constituency. Allotting seven seats to smaller allies, Jayalalithaa released the list yesterday.