West Bengal and Assam witnessed heavy turnout in the first phase of polling for 30 and 47 seats respectively on Saturday (March 27). While over 80 per cent voters exercised their franchise in West Bengal, in Assam the figure was 72.14 per cent.
It needs to be mentioned that in the 2016 Assembly poll the ruling Trinamool Congress won 26 out of these 30 seats while the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Asom Gana Parishad alliance walked away with 35 out of the 47 seats.
Independent analysts are of the view that this time the figure may not remain the same and in both the states the ruling party or alliance may be able to win less number of seats in the polling held on Saturday.
However polling trend suggests that in Assam and West Bengal the ruling party still appears to have an edge.
But, the problem with the BJP in Assam is that in the next two phases, especially in the third one, it has to face an uphill task because of the joining of hands by the Congress, Bodoland People’s Front and All Indian United Democratic Front, which is very strong in Lower Assam. The Upper Assam, which went to poll on Saturday, has ever since 2014 Lok Sabha election considered as the bastion of BJP.
Polling has been peaceful in Assam while sporadic incidents were reported from West Bengal. In one such incident the car of Soumendu Adhikari, brother of BJP leader Suvendhu Adhikari, was targeted and the driver beaten up. In West Bengal complaints of malfunctioning of EVMs also came up.
Meanwhile, both BJP and TMC leaders have complained to the Election Commission and alleged that irregularities have been committed.
Anyway, West Bengal watchers are of the view that by the state standard, the election was largely free and fair.