The first phase of Assembly polls in Assam and West Bengal registered high voter turnout Assam reaching the 80% and Bengal touching 81% on Monday.
Amidst tight security, people exercised their franchise in 12,191 polling stations of 65 constituencies spread across Upper Assam, two hill districts, northern bank of Brahmaputra Valley and Barak Valley.
“As per reports received till 5 pm, 78.45 per cent of voting had taken place. However, as a large number of voters were standing in queue at 5 pm, the final polling percentage is likely to by over 80 per cent,” the election department said in a statement.
It said voters participated in an enthusiastic way and have registered a “record turnout”.
“The polling took place in a peaceful manner and without any untoward incident. So far no report has been received over requirement of a re-poll,” the statement said.
Prominent contestants like Tarun Gogoi, BJP’s Sarbananda Sonowal, Lok Sabha MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, AGP’s working president Atul Bora voted in the first phase.
In 2011 Assembly polls these same constituencies registered 71.9% voting. The remaining 61 seats in middle and lower Assam will go to the hustings in the second and final phase of polling on April 11
In West Bengal also people came out in large numbers since early morning to exercise their franchise. Over 81 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first part of the first phase poll spread over West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia which make up Jangalmahal.
Polling in 13 Left Wing Extremism-affected constituencies ended early at 4 PM while in others it went on till 6 PM.
“We were in a state of anxiety. You know the reason (fears of Maoist violence). But overall there was no major incident or complaint. There was no news of any bandh or poll boycott by the Maoists,” Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta told reporters.
A key candidate in this phase was Tribal Affairs Minister Sukumar Hansda from Jhargram. Polling will be held in another 31 seats in the second part of the first phase to be held on April 11.