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Voting began across 475 seats in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry today, at 7 am.

Polling begins for 31 seats in third phase of Bengal elections

Polling began at 7 am on Tuesday for 31 seats in the third phase of the West Bengal assembly elections amid tight security, officials said.

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.

Polling begins for 40 sets in final phase of Assam elections

Polling for 40 seats in the final phase of the assembly elections in Assam began at 7 am on Tuesday to decide the fate of 337 candidates, including senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, his five cabinet colleagues and state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass.

People wearing masks and maintaining social distance were seen queuing outside polling stations even before the voting began in the 40 constituencies spread over 12 districts.

In several polling stations, the first voter and senior citizens were greeted with a ‘gamosa’ (traditional towel) and, in some cases, with saplings.

Elections are being held amid tight security as 320 companies of security forces were deployed in the third phase, the highest among all the phases.

Altogether 79,19,641 voters — 40,11,539 men, 39,07,963 women and 139 of the third gender — are entitled to exercise their franchise in 11,401 polling stations.

A total of 45,604 polling personnel have been deployed for this phase.

A direct contest between nominees of the BJP-led NDA and Congress-headed Grand Alliance is on the cards in 20 constituencies while there is a triangular fight, including friendly contests, in the remaining seats with the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) being considered as the third force.

Polling begins in Tamil Nadu & Puducherry

Polling in 234 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu went underway at 7 am on Tuesday.

A total of 3998 candidates including heavyweights like Chief Minister K Palaniswami, deputy CM O Panneerselvam, DMK President M K Stalin, AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran and Makkal Needhi Maiam President Kamal Haasan are in the fray.

The Election Commission will be conducting the polls with due covid-19 health protocols such as checking the temperature of voters.

People started lining up early in the morning eagerly to cast their votes. Actors Rajinikanth and Ajith Kumar were among the early voters in the city.

While the ruling AIADMK is seeking a third term, Stalin-led DMK is making a strong bid to come back to power after a decade of stint in opposition.

Polling also began in neighbouring Puducherry this morning.

In the neighbouring Puducherry, Union Territory having just over 10 lakh voters the fight for the 30-member Assembly is majorly between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) consisting of Congress (contesting in 14 seats), DMK (13), CPI, VCK (one seat each) and an Independent.

The rival National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprises of All India N.R. Congress (16 seats), BJP (9) and AIADMK (5).

Polling in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will end at 7 p.m.

Polling begins in Kerala for 140 assembly seats

Polling began at 7 am on Tuesday in Kerala for the 140 seats single phase election to the state assembly, amidheavy security.

‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan, who is the BJP-NDA candidate from Palakkad constituency was among the early voters in the state.

“I have cast my vote, have good expectations”, he told reporters after excercising his franchise at a polling booth in Ponnani.

Long queues were seen in several polling stations much before the polling began.

Kerala had witnessed a fierce campaign in the run up to the polls by the ruling CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front (LDF), Opposition Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP led NDA.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seven of his cabinet colleagues, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy are among the 957 candidates in fray in the state.

Voting is underway with strict adherance to COVID-19 protocol across the 40,771 polling stations in the state where 2.

74 crore voters will decide the fate of the contestants.

The total electorate includes 1,32,83,724 male voters, 1,41,62,025 female voters and 290 transgenders, according to election commission figures.

A total number of 202402 polling personnel will ensure the smooth conduct of the elections and 97 per cent of the officials have been vaccinated, election commission sources said.

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