Overall, 39.19 percent voters exercised their franchise during the first four hours in six districts of north Bengal and Birbhum of south Bengal.In Alipurduar, 36.28 percent votes were recorded, in Jalpaiguri 40.71 percent, Darjeeling 36.06, North Dinajpur 38, South Dinajpur 40.08, Malda 38.30 percent and Birbhum 44.88.
Controversial Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mandal, already under 24/7 surveillance of the Election Commission, stoked another controversy this time when he went to vote displaying the party symbol on his chest.
"I didn't realise it. But the presiding officer could have stopped me from going like this," Mandal, Birbhum district president of the party, said later on.
In Malda, a clash between CPI(M) and TMC supporters took place in front of booth no. 96 in Englishbazar assembly segment in which two persons, including the TMC polling agent were injured, police said.
Trouble began when the TMC polling agent protested against alleged booth jamming by CPI(M). The two sides clashed with lathis outside the booth with the central forces finding it difficult to control them, polling officials said. TMC agent Anup Sarkar was injured and admitted to Malda Medical College and Hospital.
Polling was stalled for 45 minutes and later began as additional central forces were rushed to the area to control the situation. TMC polling agent Asraful Hossain was beaten up at a booth in Chanchol constituency in Malda district by Chanchol ex-pradhan Maqbul Hossain of Congress, polling officials said.
As a result, polling was temporarily stalled. Hossain has since been arrested, police said. Earlier in the morning, a clash between BJP and TMC workers left eight persons injured in Dumrut village of Birbhum at around 6 AM before polling began, a EC report said.
Three persons were later on arrested by the police. TMC candidate from Siliguri assembly constituency, Baichung Bhutia has complained of bogus votes being cast at Sriguru Vidayapith booth and a complaint has been registered with the EC.

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