Six Lok Sabha constituencies, including those in erstwhile Maoist hotbed Jangalmahal, in West Bengal recorded a polling percentage of 81.28 till 6 pm on Wednesday.
More than 8.8 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 11,321 polling stations to decide the fate of 72 candidates in the fray.
Polling is underway in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura districts — once considered a bastion of the Left Front before Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress was voted to power in the state in 2011.
West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura recorded polling percentages of 81.41, 78.75, 80.55 till 5pm.
None of the six seats where polling is on, however, has a Trinamool parliamentarian. While the CPI(M) had won four seats in 2009, the CPI and the Forward Bloc had bagged one each.
This time, the Trinamool Congress is confident about a good show.
Singer Babul Supriyo is the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) candidate in Asansol, the only seat outside Jangalmahal. Riding on a projected 'Modi wave', he is hopeful about winning the seat. Asansol recorded a polling percentage of 75.47 till 5pm.
Supriyo is pitted against former CPI(M) minister and incumbent MP Bansa Gopal Chowdhury and Dola Sen, the chief of Trinamool's trade union wing.
A prestigious poll battle is on in Bankura, where CPI(M)'s nine-time MP Basudeb Acharya is facing Trinamool's actor-turned-politician Moon Moon Sen.
She and her two actor daughters, Riya and Raima, have attracted big crowds during campaigning.
Another important seat is Jhargram — not because of any heavyweight but due to its history of violence. The constituency recorded a polling percentage of 87.88 till 5pm.
It comprises areas such as Lalgarh, Salboni, Jhargram, Jamboni and Belpahari, which were hotbeds of Maoist activities from 2008 to 2011 — before Maoist leader Kishenji's death in November 2011.
In 2009, about 75,000 voters had boycotted the elections in the area.
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