The West Bengal and Assam Assembly election began Monday, April 4, and voter turnout was pegged at 18 and 12 percent respectively by 9 a.m. IST. People have been queueing up from 7 a.m. in 65 constituencies in Assam and 18 in West Bengal in the first phase of the elections.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be looking to increase its foothold in these states, while Congress in Assam and Trinamool Congress (TMC) Party in West Bengal are fighting to maintain their vote share.
The Assam Assembly elections will be held in two phases. During the first phase, BJP's chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal will be contesting from the river island Majuli, while three-time Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will contest the Titabor seat in Jorhat district. The BJP candidate standing against Gogoi is MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa. The BJP was quoted as saying by Indian Express that it would win 50 of the 65 seats that will be in the fray during the first phase in Assam.
The West Bengal elections will be held in six phases and seven days with the first phase divided into two days. Left wing extremism-hit constituencies like West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia are going to polls Monday.
"We'll have to take all possible measures to develop Majuli and make it visible in map of world," Sonowal, who cast his vote, was quoted as saying by ANI, while Gogoi said, "I don't think it's a tough battle." Meanwhile, BJP state president in West Bengal Dilip Ghosh cast his vote in West Midnapore.
The BJP, for the first time since it gained power in the Centre, projected a state leader as the face of the election campaign instead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian express reported.
In West Bengal, the Congress-Left coalition will give a strong opposition to the TMC, which also faced criticism after a part of the Vivekananda flyover in Kolkata recently collapsed killing about 27 people. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her campaign in Jangalmahal said that her government is paying for the Left government's faulty clearances, according to the Indian Express.