Stray incidents of violence were reported from some areas that are voting in the first phase of the assembly elections in West Bengal on Saturday, even as the overall poll situation was peaceful with 79.8% of the eligible voters exercising their franchise till 5:00 PM. BJP leader‘s younger brother was reportedly attacked allegedly by Trinamool Congress supporters in Contai town in East Midnapur district, his party alleged. His car was vandalised and his was driver injured in the attack. The Trinamool is facing a stern test from the BJP in its bid for a third straight term.
The situation in Assam, meanwhile, is largely peaceful. The BJP is hoping to win a second straight term in the state, with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal the biggest name on the ballot today. “We will get more than 100 seats,” Mr Sonowal said. Mr Gogoi, meanwhile, visited a polling booth in Jorhat to cast vote. “It’s a very emotional moment for me as it’s the first time after many years that I’m coming to a polling station without my parents. Confident that people are going to vote out politics of lies and deceit and voting for politics that guarantees that their future is bright,” Mr Gogoi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. 72.1 per cent of the eligible voters have exercised their franchise till 5 pm.
The politically volatile states of West Bengal and Assam are voting in thetoday amid a resurgent Covid crisis to decide the fate of a number of top politicians including Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. Polling is being held in 30 of the 294 constituencies of West Bengal and 47 of the 126 in Assam.
West Bengal will vote in eight-phases while the exercise will be completed in Assam in three phases on March 27, April 1 and 6. Altogether 264 candidates, including 23 women, are in the fray.
The state polls to the two states apart from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry are the first, after the assembly elections in Bihar, to be held during the pandemic.
Here are the Latest News Live Updates On Assembly Elections 2021:
Activists of the BJP and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) clashed in Bengal’s Nandigram constituency — which is set to go to polls on April 1 — seriously injuring at least three, a senior police officer said, reported news agency PTI.
Seikh Sufiyan, the election agent of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, however, claimed that goons hired by the BJP carried out an attack on the workers of the state’s ruling party, a charge denied by the BJP camp.
“All three, who sustained injuries during the attack, are activists of the TMC. They were rushed to SSKM hospital in Kolkata. The condition of one of them has been stated to be serious,” Mr Sufiyan said.
79.8% Turnout Till 5PM In Bengal, 72.1% In Assam
Bengal registers 79.8% turnout across 30 assembly constituencies till 5PM while Assam 72.1% across 47 constituencies.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his visit to Bangladesh, accusing him of trying to influence voters in West Bengal where polling began for the eight-phase assembly election in the morning.
“Elections are underway here and he (PM) goes to Bangladesh and lectures on Bengal. It is a total violation of code of conduct of the election,” Ms Banerjee said at a campaign event in Kharagpur, according to news agency ANI.
“In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when a Bangladeshi actor attended our rally, BJP spoke to Bangladesh government and cancelled his visa. When polls are underway here, you (PM) go to Bangladesh to seek votes from one section of people. Why shouldn’t your visa be cancelled? We will complain to the Election Commission,” she said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today alleged that the BJP is bringing in goons from outside to stop people from exercising their franchise in Bengal and urged women to “confront the hoodlums with ladle, spatula” and other cooking utensils, reported news agency PTI.
Addressing two public rallies at Narayangarh and Pingla in West Midnapore district, the Trinamool Congress chief dubbed Suvendu Adhikari and his family as “traitors”, and claimed that one member of the household was seen distributing money among people on Friday night, hours before 30 assembly constituencies of the state went to polls.
70.2% Voter Turnout In Bengal Till 3 PM
Bengal records 70.2 per cent turnout till 3 pm across 30 assembly constituencies in the first phase of the state assembly polls.
Bengal records 54.9 per cent turnout till 1 pm across 30 assembly constituencies in the first phase of the state assembly polls.
Assam Congress President Ripun Bora casts his vote at a polling booth in Gohpur. (ANI)
An estimated 45.20 per cent of the eligible voters in Assam have exercised their franchise till 1 PM. Polling is being held in 47 of the 126 in the state.
A delegation of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders met Chief Electoral Officer in Kolkata, reported news agency ANI.
“BJP had submitted a memorandum requesting to change the system of appointing booth agents wherein he must be a voter of the concerned booth and allow anybody at any booth,” said TMC’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay.
“The new system is not acceptable to us. We demand that from the next phase the polling agent must be local of the concerned polling booth. The Chief Electoral Officer has assured to look into the matter,” Mr Bandyopadhyay said.
Bengal records 46.8 per cent turnout till 12:30 pm across 30 assembly constituencies in the first phase of the state assembly polls.
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s brother Soumendu Adhikari was reportedly attacked in Bengal’s Contai. Soumendu Adhikari has blamed Trinamool Congress for the vandalism of his car.
“I got to know that the vehicle (of Soumendu Adhikari) was attacked in Contai with help of Trinamool Congress (TMC) block president Ram Govind Das. Soumendu Adhikari wasn’t injured. The driver was beaten up. I’ve informed the Police Observer,” said Dibyendu Adhikari, TMC leader and brother of Soumendu Adhikari, reported news agency ANI.
36.1% Voter Turnout In Bengal Till 12 PM
Bengal recorded 36.1 per cent turnout till 12 pm across 30 assembly constituencies in the first phase of the state assembly polls.
Bengal recorded 35.5 per cent turnout till 11 am across 30 assembly constituencies in the first phase of the state assembly polls.
(Image courtesy: @SpokespersonECI)
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari today wrote to the Election Commission (EC) seeking suspension of some police officials in Bengal’s Haldia and Nandigram for allegedly helping the Trinamool Congress (TMC) carry out malpractices and irregularities during the first phase of West Bengal assembly elections, reported news agency ANI.
Suvendu Adhikari has requested the suspension of Haldia Additional Superintendent of Police (SP), Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Barunbaidya and some other officers of Nandigram police station.
Meanwhile, polling for the first of the eight-phased assembly polls in Bengal is underway in 30 constituencies. The polling will conclude at 6:30 pm.
Suvendu Adhikari’s brother Soumendu Adhikari had earlier today alleged that people were being stopped from voting at a polling centre in Contai.
Actor, TMC Leader Soham Chakraborty Alleges Rigging In Bengal’s Kanthi (North)
“People of Kanthi Uttar are enraged at the mess that EVM malfunctioning has caused! Surprisingly, votes seem to be going to BJP whenever a vote is cast for Trinamool Congress! How can Election Commission stay silent? Democracy faces a great threat in Phase 1 itself of WB polls,” tweeted actor and National Vice President of All India Trinamool Youth Congress Soham Chakraborty.
BJP candidate from Bengal’s Saltora constituency, Chandana Bauri, who is the wife of a daily wager, cast her vote today morning during the first phase of the state assembly elections, reported news agency ANI.
“Saltora BJP candidate Chandana Bauri went to the booth and cast her vote. Exercise your democratic rights. Voting is your right, go and vote with your family,” tweeted BJP Bengal.
Ms Bauri’s name was mentioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a previous rally in the Bankura district.
“Modi ji loves people from all religions, and on the other hand, Mamata Didi divides people on the basis of religion. She does not let Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja happen. But Modi ji, for us Muslim women, abolished the Triple Talaq law,” Ms Bauri had said.
“Trinamool Congress (TMC) knows that it is losing & that’s why it is saying all this. For such complaints, TMC should go to the Election Commission. TMC and Mamata Banerjee are under pressure and that is why they are saying such things,” said BJP Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh on TMC allegations of poll rigging, reported news agency ANI.
TMC knows that it is losing & that’s why it is saying all this. For such complaints, TMC should go to the Election Commission. TMC & Mamata Banerjee are under pressure and that is why they are saying such things: BJP West Bengal Pres Dilip Ghosh on TMC alleging rigging of polls
– ANI (@ANI)
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday urged the people of Assam to vote in large numbers for the progress of the state, reported news agency ANI.
“Today, the first phase of polling is being held in Assam. I appeal to the people of Assam, especially the youth and my sisters, to go to the polling booth today and vote in large numbers. Vote for the progress and progress of Assam and the golden future of Assam,” the Congress leader wrote on Facebook.
As the polling is underway for the first phase of Assembly elections in Assam and West Bengal, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday urged citizens to cast their vote against the “divisive forces”, reported news agency ANI.
“To strengthen democracy, cast your vote against the divisive forces. Jai Hind!” tweeted Rahul Gandhi in Hindi.
TMC’s Derek O’Brien writes to EC
“Voter turnout for ACs Kanthi Dakshin (216)&Kanthi Uttar (213) at 9:13am was 18.47%&18.95% respectively, 4 mins later at 9:17am voter turnout reduced to 10.60%&9:40%. Such discrepancy raises question on genuineness of data issued by EC,”he states
– ANI (@ANI)
President of newly-floated regional political party Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) Lurinjyoti Gogoi on Sunday cast his vote at a polling centre in Tinsukia district during the first phase of Assam polls, reported news agency ANI.
Mr Gogoi is contesting from two seats – Duliajan and Naharkatia. Voting at the two Assembly constituencies is underway in the first phase of polls today.
The AJP and jailed activist Akhil Gogoi’s party Raijor Dal are contesting the polls in an alliance.
Gaurav Gogoi visited a polling booth in Jorhat to cast vote. “It’s a very emotional moment for me as it’s the first time after many years that I’m coming to a polling station without my parents. Confident that people are going to vote out politics of lies and deceit and voting for politics that guarantees that their future is bright,” Mr Gogoi was quoted as saying by bews agency ANI.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, among the key candidates in phase 1, voted at a polling centre in Dibrugarh. “We will get more than 100 seats,” Mr Sonowal said. The Chief Minister visited a temple in Dibrugarh before casting his vote.
Bharatiya Janata Party delegation led by party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya to meet CEO West Bengal at 2pm, today, reports news agency ANI.
BJP candidate from West Midnapore Samit Das on Saturday alleged that Trinamool Congress (TMC) is creating disturbances in the rural areas of the district as voting in the first phase of Assembly polls is underway, reported news agency ANI.
Samir Das cast his vote at a polling booth in Bengal’s West Midnapore district.
“Voting in Midnapore town is going on smoothly. But, at some places in rural areas, TMC workers are trying to create a disturbance,” Mr Das told news agency ANI.
“At booth number 266 and 267, some TMC workers entered the booth to influence the voters. We have complained to the Election Commission regarding the matter,” he said, adding, “We trust the Central police force. They are trying to help in conducting the polls smoothly.”
A Trinamool Congress (TMC) delegation will meet the West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) at 12 pm today to raise “some serious concerns”, as polling for the first phase of state assembly elections is underway, reported news agency ANI.
Taking to Twitter, the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) questioned the Election Commission of India (ECI) on how the voting percentage reduced drastically to half within five minutes.
“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!” AITC tweeted.
Meanwhile, the voter turnout for the first phase for polling in West Bengal stood at 15.30 per cent as of 10:19 am on Saturday.
Hours before the first phase of polling began in West Bengal Assembly elections, the Purba Medinipur district witnessed violence as bombing and firing took place in the Satsatmal village at the Argoal gram panchayat in Bhagabanpur Assembly constituency, injuring two security personnel, reported news agency ANI.
East Midnapore: 2 security personnel injured in a firing incident at Satsatmal, Bhagwanpur assembly constituency, early morning today, ahead of voting for West Bengal polls
Those associated with TMC trying to terrorise ppl in Argoal panchayat area: Anup Chakraborty,BJP Dist Pres
– ANI (@ANI)
Patashpur Police Station Officer-in-Charge Deepak Kumar Chakraborty and a Central Force soldier were seriously injured in the incident.
After primary treatment at Egra Super Specialty Hospital, the injured personnel were shifted to Kolkata for further treatment.
Soumendu Adhikari, BJP leader and brother of Suvendu Adhikari, today alleged that people were being stopped from voting at a polling centre in Contai, reported news agency ANI.
“Voters being influenced and stopped from voting at booth number 149. Overall polling is being held peacefully. EVMs are malfunctioning at some locations; it happens in all polls, the EC is looking into it,” Soumendu Adhikari told the news agency.
The BJP leader said there should be free and fair polls and they have approached the Election Commission.
“We approached the EC that there should be free and fair polls. People will choose whom they want. TMC is scared. We have given the name of one Alauddin to Election Commission, he created disturbance there,” Mr Adhikari said.
Soumendu Adhikari, a former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader, joined BJP earlier this year ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections.
The results of the Bengal and Assam elections, as well as that of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry, will be declared on May 2.
A voter at a polling booth in Assam. 10.2% of the eligible voters in the state have exercised their franchise till 9:30 am.
Voters in Assam turned out to cast their ballot at the polling booths, some of which had been decorated extensively. In Assam’s Jorhat, a model polling station was built and decorated with the state’s traditions. Bihu decorations were also incorporated at the booth. In Batadraba, the first voter was with a ‘gamusa’ and a sapling at the model polling station. Voting began in 47 seats of Assam this morning in the first phase of the staggered assembly elections in the state.”
Voters at the polling centre in Mankata area of Lahowal constituency are being provided masks, gloves and hand sanitisers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The temperature of voters is also being checked at a primary school – designated as a polling booth.
People were also seen maintaining social distancing at the polling centre.
Binod Hazarika of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Manoj Dhanowar of Congress and Likhan Baruah of Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) are in the fray from Lahowal constituency.
West Bengal recorded a voter turnout of 14.3 per cent till 9:30 am while 10.2% of the eligible voters have exercised their franchise during the period. Overall 1.54 eligible voters in these two states can exercise their franchise today.
#UPDATE | Technical glitch in EVM at Ujoni Hatimora polling station in Lahoal Assembly Constituency, voting yet to start
A separate corner with toys has been set up for children accompanying their parents to polling booths in Assam.
#WestBengalElections2021: Voting underway at booth number 67A in Patashpur assembly constituency in East Midnapore
BJP candidate from West Midnapore, Samit Das casts vote at a polling booth. BJP candidate from West Midnapore, Samit Das casts vote at a polling booth. Mr Das faces a tough challenge from actor June Malia, a known face on the Bengali silver screen, and Tarun Kumar Ghosh of the CPI.
Pictures from a polling station in West Bengal’s Kanthi
BJP national president JP Nadda has urged voters to come out in record numbers and “participate in the festival of democracy” by exercising their right to vote.
“Today is the first phase of polling in the West Bengal assembly elections. Your vote will decide the future for you and the state. I urge all voters to ensure their participation in this festival of democracy by taking all precautions against COVID-19. Remember, first vote, then breakfast,” the BJP chief tweeted.
“Today is the first phase of polling in the Assam assembly elections. I request all voters to participate in this sacred festival of democracy in record numbers and set a new voting record. Additionally, wear masks and maintain social distancing,” he added.
বাংলার সকল মানুষকে আমি অনুরোধ করব নিজের গণতান্ত্রিক অধিকার প্রয়োগ করুন, সবাই আসুন, ভোট দিন।
I call upon the people of Bengal to exercise their democratic right by coming out and voting in large numbers.
– Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial)
Jhargram, Medinipur, Patashpur and Ramnagar are among the big seats in Bengal in this phase. Medinipur will be closesly watched as it is the home turf of Suvendu Adhikari – the ex-Trinamool MLA and close aide of Mamata Banerjee, whose defection to the BJP triggered a furious row with his former party. The Trinamool has fielded Bengali actor June Malia from this seat against the BJP’s Shamit Dash.
The BJP is contesting 39 of the 47 seats in this phase and ally AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) 10. The two parties will go head-to-head in a “friendly contest” in two seats. The Congress – at the end of a ‘mahajot’ (grand alliance) – will contest 43 seats, with one each for the AIDUF of Badruddin Ajmal, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the AGM and the CPIML. A third option for voters is the fledgling Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), which was formed last year by the All Assam Students’ Union and the Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad.
Poll officials distribute plant saplings to voters at Model polling station in Assam’s Jorhat
Voting underway at a polling centre in Purulia for the first phase of #WestBengalElections2021 (ANI)
West Bengal: Voting underway at Kechanda Part Basic School in Jhargram
Voters outside a polling booth in Dibrugarh. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will cast vote in the constituency later today. Mr Sonowal is among the high-profile candidates in the first phase. He is contesting from Majuli (ST) seat where he is locked in a direct contest with three-time former Congress MLA and former minister Rajib Lochan Pegu.
Social distancing and #COVID19 norms being followed at a polling booth in Assam’s Dibrugarh
Trinamool Congress claimed 26 of 30 seats in the last elections. For this election they are contesting 29 seats and supporting an independent candidate in the other. The BJP is working on an identical formula – the 30th seat has been given to an ally. The Congress is fighting 10 seats, with 18 going to the Left – the majority alliance partner.
As voting began in West Bengal and Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon voters to excercise their franchise in record numbers.
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.
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi)
The first phase of elections begin in Assam. Urging those eligible to vote in record numbers. I particularly call upon my young friends to vote.
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi)
Voters at a polling booth in Jorhat in Assam. The constituency is likely to wittness a close fight between assembly speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami of BJP and heavyweight Rana Goswami.
JUST IN: Voting begins in 30 seats of West Bengal, 47 seats of Assam for first phase of state elections.
First phase voting of Assembly Elections in West Bengal and Assam begin
In Assam, most of these seats will witness a triangular contest between the ruling BJP-AGP alliance, the Congress-led opposition grand alliance and the newly formed Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP). Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is among the high-profile candidates in the first phase. Mr Sonowal is contesting from Majuli (ST) seat where he is locked in a direct contest with three-time former Congress MLA and former minister Rajib Lochan Pegu.
The assembly elections to the two states apart from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry are the first, after the state polls in Bihar, to be held during the pandemic.
Preparations underway at a polling station in Rupahi, Nagaon district, ahead of voting for the first phase of #AssamAssemblyPolls today
The stakes for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) are high in Assam where 47 seats of 126 Assembly constituencies across 34 districts will go for polling to the first of the three-phase elections on Saturday.
Polling will begin at 7 am today in 47 constituencies across 12 districts in Assam where the ruling BJP and Congress-AIUDF alliance are locked in a direct electoral contest.
In the first phase, a total of 264 candidates are in the fray on the 47 seats — 42 from 11 districts of the Upper and northern region of the state and five seats from central Assam’s Nagaon district.
The ruling BJP, who had wrestled power from the Congress in 2016 after a 15-year rule, is seeking a second term with the help of the AGP and the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).
The Congress-led United People’s Alliance (UPA) “Mahajath” and United Regional Front (URF) led by activist Akhil Gogoi’s Raijor Dal have posed as formidable opponents.
The “Khela” (game) of power begins in West Bengal on Saturday with the beginning of the first of the eight-phase assembly polls in the state.
In the first phase, 30 seats covering all assembly constituencies from the districts of Purulia and Jhargram and a segment of Bankura, Purba Medinipur and Paschim Medinipur are going for polls.
The first phase of polling will decide the electoral fate of 191 candidates including 21 women.
The state is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with Trinamool Congress (TMC), Congress-Left alliance and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the fray.