The first phase of assembly elections in Assam and West Bengal passed of peacefully on Monday. Around 80% voters turned out in the 18 West Bengal constituencies. In Assam, the turnout figure for the 65 seats in 14 districts of Upper Assam and Barak Valley stood at 80%.
You can read a story wrapping the elections here and catch our live coverage below..
As it happened:
8.30pm: Voting in both states “by and large peaceful” with no reports of violence-related death or injury, announces the Election Commission.
3.30pm: 72% voting in Assam, BJP elated over heavy polling.
3.25pm: BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal casts his vote in Dibrugarh, Assam.
“People in Assam want development. I am sure results will be good as the BJP believes in development,” says Sonowal.
3.00pm: 75.24% voter turnout in West Bengal.
3.10pm: More than 300 villagers boycott assembly elections protesting against unavailability of electricity and water in village Purulia, West Bengal. “We will not vote. Despite promises being made, our village has not received electricity and water. When nobody thinks about us, why should we cast our votes?” asks a villager.
2.00pm: 51% voter turnout in Assam.
1.00pm: Voter turnout in West Bengal:
West Midnapore: 65.45%
Average turnout: 63.3%
12.30pm: 45% voter turnout in Assam.
12.40am: Reports of malfunctioning electronic voting machines (EVMs) in some polling centres, voting affected for some time but EVMs swiftly replaced, according to election officials.
12.30pm: Watch people cast their votes in the first phase of West Bengal elections
12.15pm: Voting underway for the first phase of Assam polls in Bokakhat (Golaghat).
Polling in 65 constituencies of upper Assam and Barak Valley (southern part bordering Bangladesh) will determine if the BJP can snatch the state away from the three-time Congress chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
Voicing confidence that the people would elect a Congress government in Assam, CM Gogoi said his party has brought change for the better by developing the state, while PM Modi has ‘failed’ to fulfill his promises.
11.00am: Voter turnout 45.32% in West Bengal, 22.77% in Assam. More than 190 complaints poll-rule violation recorded in West Bengal.
The voting percentage in the three districts of West Bengal was recorded at:
West Midnapore: 47.53%
Average percentage: 45.32%
Polling in 18 constituencies in Maoist-affected districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura in West Bengal may serve as a barometer for CM Mamata Banerjee to assess whether the tragic Vivekananda flyover collapse in Kolkata has any adverse resonance outside the city.
10.50am: 20 % voting in the first three hours in Assam, huge turnout likely. A total number of 535 companies of security forces have been deployed in the 65 constituencies in the state where the polls are being held.
9.50am: “I am sure that we will be able to form government in Tamil Nadu under the leadership of Karunanidhi,” says Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad.
9:28am: Bengal elections will be carried out on seven days. The first phase has two days, the first one today (Monday) and the second one April 11.
9:24am: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad arrives at DMK chief Karunanidhi’s residence in Chennai to talk about seat-sharing. They finalise seat sharing ahead of Tamil Nadu Assembly polls (May 16), Congress to get 41 seats.
9.20am: We will have to take all possible measures to develop Majuli, Assam and make it visible on the global map, says Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the Assam polls.
9.09am: A differently-abled person casts his vote at a polling booth in Karbi Anglong.
9.00am: Voter turnout recorded at 18% till 9.00 am for the first phase of West Bengal polls and 12% for Assam.
8.30 am: Assam CM Tarun Gogoi says, “I don’t think it’s a tough battle. I will be the chief minister of Assam.”
7.40am: Tarun Gogoi, chief minister of Assam, arrives at a polling booth in Jorhat to cast his vote.
7.20am: These are the first elections since the BJP stormed to power at the Centre in May 2014 in which the party is not seeking votes directly in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
7.00am: On May 19, when results of the current round of elections are out, it will be clear how much the BJP depends on personality cult for electoral success.
6.52am: Voting to begin shortly for first phase of Assam polls. People wait in long queues outside a polling booth in Diphu . Assam represents the best chance the BJP has to win a state. The party did extremely well in these two regions in the last Lok Sabha elections. The momentum that the party gains in these regions could carry it through April 11 elections for 61 seats in Muslim-dominated Lower and central Assam.
6.49am: People queue up outside a polling booth in Diphu
6.23am: Preparations underway for the first phase of polling in Diphu, Assam. Polling booths set with security arrangements.
Follow the Assam assembly polls full coverage here
Follow the West Bengal assembly polls full coverage here
With Agency inputs
(All pictures from ANI)