A paramilitary personnel assists an elderly woman while a volunteer checks her body temperature before entering a polling station to cast her ballot during Phase 1 of West Bengal legislative election in Purulia district on March 27, 2021.
A paramilitary personnel assists an elderly woman while a volunteer checks her body temperature before entering a polling station to cast her ballot during Phase 1 of West Bengal legislative election in Purulia district on March 27, 2021.
DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP

Voters in West Bengal and Assam on Saturday queued up to cast their ballot to form a new state Assembly.

In the first phase, 30 Assembly seats in West Bengal and 47 in Assam are up for grabs. This covers all constituencies in Purulia and Jhargram district as well as some constituencies in Bankura, Purba Medinipur Paschim Medinipur. The TMC faces heavy competition as it looks to retain power for a third term, while the BJP appears poised to make heavy inroads into the eastern state.

Till 1 pm on Saturday 40.73% of voters had cast their ballots in West Bengal. Polls are being held amid heavy security, with a slew of precautionary measures in place, keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind. In Assam, the turnout till 1 pm was 37.06%.

40.73% voter turnout in West Bengal, 37.06% in Assam till 1 pm - All you need to know
Swapan Mahapatra

In West Bengal, sporadic incidents of violence have been reported from some areas that are voting in the first phase, even as the overall poll situation was peaceful. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate for the Salboni constituency, Sushanta Ghosh, was attacked by unknown miscreants before being escorted away by security Several journalists were also reportedly attacked in the area.

Both the BJP and the TMC have accused the other of interfering in the polls, contending that voters were being intimidated in certain areas. The TMC also contends that there are discrepancies in the turnout data given by the EC. The two parties are now meeting separately with the West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer.

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