Voting is underway with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in 16 seats in South 24 Parganas district (part II), seven in Howrah (part I) and eight in Hooghly (part I), they said. Long queues were seen outside polling stations, where voting will continue till 6.30 pm.
Over 78.5 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 205 candidates, including BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta, state minister Ashima Patra and CPI(M) leader Kanti Ganguly. The Election Commission has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC in all the constituencies, declaring them as 'sensitive'.
Tight security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful voting, with 618 companies of central forces being deployed to guard 10,871 polling stations. State police forces have also be deputed at strategic locations to aid the central forces. The elections for the 294 assembly seats in West Bengal are being held in eight phases. The votes will be counted on May 2.