Polling has begun for the first phase of assembly elections in Assam and West Bengal. In Assam, polling began at 7 this morning and will conclude at 6 PM. Voting is taking place for 47 constituencies spread over 12 districts. 264 candidates including 23 women are in fray for 47 seats. Over 81 lakh voters including 40.32 lakh women and 124 Third Gender persons will decide the fate of these candidates.

There are three main alliances this time including the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance with partners Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) and Mahajot or Grand Alliance led by the Congress.

It includes All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) and the Left parties while yet another conglomerate of Assom Jatiya Party (AJP) and Raijor Dal is also there. Congress has fielded 43 candidates, AJP has 41, BJP-39, AGP-10 while 78 independents along with others are also trying their luck.

The prominent leaders contesting during the First Phase include Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal from Majuli, State Congress President Ripun Bora from Gohpur, Asom Gana Parishad President Atul Bora from Boka khat, Raijor Dal President Akhil Gogoi from Sivsagar and Assam Jatiya Parishad President Lurinjyoti Gogoi from Duliajan and Nahakatia.

In West Bengal, polling began at 7 AM and will conclude at 6:30 PM. 191 candidates including 21 women are vying for the 30 seats spread over five districts in this phase. Over 74 lakh voters including 36.28 lakh women and 63 Third Gender persons will decide the fate of these candidates.

Out of 30 seats, BJP is contesting 29 and alliance partner AJSU is fighting from the Baghmundi seat in Purulia district while TMC is contesting in 29 seats and supporting an independent candidate in Joypur Constituency after the nomination of the party candidate was rejected. Congress, Left parties and their alliance partner Indian Secular Front are fighting under the banner of Sanyukt Morcha.

Election Commission is using Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) along with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at every Polling Station, with a view to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election process, as VVPAT allows the voter to verify his/her vote. The arrangements have already been made to ensure the availability of adequate number of EVMs and VVPATs for the smooth conduct of elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged people to vote in record numbers in Assam assembly elections. He particularly called upon young friends to vote. PM Modi also requested all those who are voters in the seats polling today in West Bengal to exercise their franchise in record numbers.

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