The first of the five-phase Lok Sabha poll in West Bengal began on Thursday in four constituencies of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar.
Of the 47 candidates, including three women, four each were from Trinamool Congress, Congress, BJP and BSP, while two were from the CPI(M) and one each from the RSP and Forward Bloc.
There were also 19 others from other registered political parties and eight independents. Prominent candidates were GJM-backed BJP candidate S S Ahluwalia and Trinamool Congress nominee Baichung Bhutia from the Darjeeling parliamentary seat, RSP sitting MP Manohar Tirkey from Alipurduar and CPI(M)’s Mahendra Roy in Jalpaiguri. In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, Darjeeling had gone to the BJP, while in the other three constituencies Left Front candidates had emerged victorious.
A total of 60,14,258 voters, of whom 31,14,184 were men were eligible to vote in 7,443 booths. Forty polling stations were run by women, of which 28 were in Coochbehar district and eight in Jalpaiguri district, followed by four in Darjeeling. There were 60 model polling stations with 28 in Jalpaiguri, 25 in Coochbehar and seven in Darjeeling. Arrangements had been made for web casting and live monitoring of sensitive areas amid tight security provided by central forces which were more than double than the 2011 Assembly elections.