Voting for 69 seats in the two States has begun with major focus on the Nandigram seat in West Bengal
Polling began at 7 am today for 30 constituencies, including the high-profile Nandigram seat, in the second phase of the West Bengal assembly elections amid tight security, officials said.
Voting is underway in nine seats each in Purba and Paschim Medinipur districts, eight in Bankura, and four in South 24 Parganas.
In Nandigram, All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) President and current Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee is up against her former aide and rival Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Shubhendu Adhikari along with Communist Party of India (Marxist) youth leader Minakshi Mukherjee. AITC Ministers Soumen Mahapatra from Tamluk and Manturam Pakhira from Kakdwip, former Minister Manas Bhuniya, former IPS officers Bharati Ghosh and Humayun Kabir from Debra, Tollywood film stars Sohom Chakraborty from Chandipur, Hiranmoy Chattopadhyaya from Kharagpur Sadar and Sayantika Banerjee from Bankura along with former cricketer Ashoke Dinda from Moyna are other prominent faces contesting in the second phase.
In West Bengal, 171 candidates including 19 women are vying for the 30 seats in four districts while in Assam, 345 candidates including 26 women are contesting in 39 Assembly Constituencies spread over 13 districts during the second phase. A total of 10,620 and 10,592 Polling Stations have been set up in the Second Phase in West Bengal and Assam respectively for this purpose.
The prominent leaders contesting during the second phase in Assam include BJP Ministers Piyush Hazarika from Jagiroad, Parimal Sukla Baidya from the Dholai, and Bhabesh Kalita from Rangia along with Deputy Speaker of Assembly Aminul Haque Laskar from Sonai.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged people to vote in large numbers in the second phase of assembly polls in Assam and West Bengal to strengthen the festival of democracy.
The polling will be conducted till 6.00 p.m. in Assam while it will continue till 6.30 P.M. in West Bengal.
In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the option of Postal Ballot facility has been extended to the electors who are COVID- 19 positive or suspect as certified by the competent authority and are at home or under institutional quarantine along with those marked as Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and above the age of 80 years. Mandatory sanitization of Polling Station, and thermal checking of voters at entry point either by polling staff or paramedical staff or an Asha worker will be done. If the temperature is above the set norms of the Health Ministry, then the elector will be provided with a token and asked to come for voting in the last hour of the poll. Such voters will be facilitated for voting, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures.
The counting of votes will be taken up together on the 2nd of May.
(Edited by Nihit Sachdeva, with agency inputs)