- Title: INDIA: Voting begins in assembly elections for West Bengal state
- Date: 19th April 2011
- Summary: VOTER IDENTITY CARDS IN THE HANDS OF WOMEN
- Embargoed: 4th May 2011 03:13
- Location: India, India
- Country: India
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVACAJUTGXNRANUE2MNNARKIGU2W
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: The first phase of assembly elections for 54 constituencies began in India's eastern state of West Bengal on Monday (April 18).
Voters were seen queuing up outside the poll stations in Siliguri city under Darjeeling district, in order to exercise their franchise.
Security officials conducted patrols in and around the polling booth premises, even as voters started coming in.
A local voter expressed his happiness with the election arrangements after casting his vote.
"I had come here to cast my vote and I have done so. The preparation of elections this year has been very good especially for the public as the campaigns did not cause much disturbance. Voting is our democratic right and I have exercised my franchise. We will always support those who would work for the common man," said Bhaskar Majumdar, a voter.
The West Bengal state with a 294-member legislature will have assembly elections in six phases.
The first phase of voting will take place on April 18, second phase on April 23, third phase on April 27, fourth phase on May 03, fifth phase on May 07 and sixth phase on May 10.
The Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist or CPI-M, has been in power in West Bengal for more than three decades.
Presently, it is facing a tough challenge from provincial main opposition Trinamool Congress and its ally Congress, who have stepped up pressure by raising simmering issues such as Maoist insurgency, corruption, and unemployment, ahead of the polls.
Analysts believe the outcome of the polls in West Bengal would be crucial for national politics.
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