Polling for the mega phase of the eight-phased assembly elections across four states - Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry - concluded on Tuesday.
According to the Election Commission of India, Bengal saw 77.68% voter turnout, while Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry recorded turnout of 82.15%, 69.95%, 65.11% and 78.03% respectively till 7:11 pm.
For Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, this was the first and only phase of polling. Assam wrapped up the electoral exercise with its third and final phase today while West Bengal will continue to vote till April 27 spread across five more phases.
After the polling began at 7 am, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a multilingual appeal for the "people in these places to vote in record numbers."
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is engaged in a fierce battle with the BJP to retain power in Bengal, today alleged that BJP workers chased the Trinamool Congress candidate, Sujata Mondal, in Arambagh and hit her on the head near the polling booth. The BJP was quick to dismiss the charge as baseless and yet another "false allegation".
As per a report by PTI, police arrested five persons -- three members of the Trinamool Congress and two of the BJP -- for their alleged involvement in assaulting Mondal.
In Kerala, despite the scorching heat and sporadic rain in many parts of the state, people, including women and senior citizens, stood in queues for a long time to take part in the democratic exercise.
In Tamil Nadu, where AIADMK's K Palaniswami and DMK chief M K Stalin are contesting for the post chief minister, poll-related minor incidents were reported from a couple of places though there were no major untoward incidents. South cinema superstar Rajinikanth and actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan were among early voters.
The founder leader of the AINRC heading the NDA, N Rangasamy, is among the important candidates in the poll fray in Puducherry. Former Chief Minister V Narayanasamy opted out of the poll battle.
The third and last phase of the state assembly polls in Assam was largely peaceful despite sporadic incidents of violence and disturbances in some areas, polling officials said.
For the Election Commission, conducting polls in the five states simultaneously was sure a mammoth task. This is the second biggest challenge for the poll body amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Election Commission had successfully conducted Bihar Assembly elections in November last year.