Kolkata: Polling began amid incidents of clashes in West Bengal, where an estimated 52.36 per cent of voters cast their votes till 1 pm on Monday in eight Lok Sabha constituencies, election officials said.
An electorate of 1,34,56,491 will decide the fate of 68 candidates in the eight constituencies — Baharampur, Krishnagar, Ranaghat (SC), Burdwan East (SC), Burdwan-Durgapur, Asansol, Bolpur (SC) and Birbhum.
According to a senior election official, clashes broke out between the supporters of rival parties in Nanoor, Rampurhat, Nalhati and Siuri areas of Birbhum seat, briefly disrupting the polling process.
Clashes also broke out between TMC and BJP workers outside a booth in Barabani in Asansol, following a tiff between sitting MP and BJP candidate in Asansol, Babul Supriyo and polling officials inside the station, he said. Babul Supriyo’s vehicle was vandalised, the official added.
“Polling was peaceful in the first two hours. However, news of clashes started surfacing thereafter. We have sought reports from each of these places. Our officials are monitoring the situation and taking proper measures to conduct the election in a free and fair manner,” he said.
Till 1 pm, Baharampur recorded voting at 53.51 per cent, Krishnagar 51.39 per cent, Ranaghat (SC) 52.27 per cent, Burdwan East (SC) 55.47 per cent, Burdwan-Durgapur 50.87 per cent, Asansol 49.98 per cent, Bolpur (SC) 50.82 per cent and Birbhum 54.60 per cent, the state election office said.
The poll body has deployed a total of 580 companies of central forces to cover all the polling booths in the Lok Sabha constituencies, to ensure free and fair polling.
The eight seats will see a four-cornered contest between the Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Congress and the Left Front.