Over 45% of the electorate exercised their franchise in the first four hours of polling in the sixth and last phase of West Bengal Assembly elections in two districts.
While East Midnapore district recorded 48.02% Cooch Behar recorded 42.07%. The overall average till 11am was 45.88%.
For the first time since Independence, residents of border enclaves in Coochbehar were exercising their franchise, made possible by the formal inclusion of enclaves in the Indian territory in 2015.
Although Election Commission officials were worried about the possibility of rainfall in Cooch Behar district affecting voter turnout and work of polling personnel, it did not rain till noon today.
An electorate of over 58 lakh is eligible to cast their ballots at 6,774 polling stations till 6pm in 25 constituencies.
In all, 170 candidates, including 18 women, are in the fray in this phase.
The poll panel has deployed 361 companies of central forces who are assisted by a contingent of 12,000 state police personnel.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC have been promulgated on the polling day and being enforced strictly to curb any unlawful assembly.
In a booth under Moyna assembly constituency in East Midnapore district, Trinamool Congress has lodged a complaint against Congress assembling with arms near booth number 236.
The Trinamool Congress has also accused Congress of booth jamming in booth numbers 14, 107 and 249 under the same assembly constituency.
Security personnel arrested five persons on the charge of giving food to voters near booth no 231 at Gobra in Moyna constituency.
Police said two groups of men belonging to Trinamool Congress and Congress were providing food to the voters.
Securitymen chased them and most of them fled. Five of them, however, were caught.
CPI(M) claimed that it could not put up polling agents in as many as 52 booths in Nandigram to which Trinamool MP Suvendu Adhikari quipped, “We cannot be blamed for that”.
Complaints have been reported by TMC and CPI(M) from Natabari constituency in Coochbehar district from where district president of TMC Rabindranath Ghosh and former CPI(M) MLA Tamser Ali are pitted against each other.
Ghosh also alleged high-handedness by Central Forces at Deocharai in Natabari.