Nandigram – the epicentre of the battle for Bengal – is voting today, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee toe-to-toe with her protege-turned-arch rival Suvendu Adhikari. Thirty constituencies in Bengal and 39 in Assam are voting today.
Polling began at 7 am on Thursday for 30 constituencies, including the high-profile Nandigram seat, in the second phase of the West Bengal Assembly election amid tight security, officials said.
Voting is under way with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in nine seats each in Purba and Paschim Medinipur districts, eight in Bankura and four in South 24 Parganas.
Long queues were seen outside polling stations, where voting will continue till 6.30 pm.
More than 75 lakh voters will decide the fate of 191 candidates in 30 constituencies, as eyes are set on Nandigram where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting against her former lieutenant and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari.
The Election Commission has declared all 10,620 polling booths as sensitive and deployed 651 companies of central forces, apart from the state police, to provide security.
A total of 210 companies of central armed police forces have been deployed in Paschim Medinipur, 199 in Purba Medinipur, 170 in South 24 Parganas and 72 in Bankura, the officials said.
TMC and BJP are contesting all 30 seats, while the CPI(M) is in the fray in 15 constituencies and its alliance partners Congress and ISF are fighting on 13 and two seats, respectively, they said.
The election for the 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal is being held in eight phases. The votes will be counted on May 2.