KOLKATA: In West Bengal, local body polls are being held for seven municipal bodies today.
The seats going to the polls are Darjeeling Kaliompong, Mirik and Kurseong in the hills and Domkol, Raygong and Poojani.
Strict security measures have been made to ward off any possible electoral malpractice or violence and ensure smooth conduct of elections.
In the hills, central forces have been deployed, while in the plains the state police and civic volunteers are looking after the law and order situation.
Early reports suggest that there have been minor skirmishes between supporters of different parties at a few polling centers.
The Trinamool Congress - Gorkha National Liberation Front parties are in alliance for the poll to counter the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM) in the four civic bodies of the hills.
The Jan Andolan Party (JAP) led by Harka Bahadur Chhetri had helped the TMC along with the GNLF in the 2016 Assembly election but has now decided to contest alone which could be a factor for the TMC in Kalimpong.
GJM is expected to face stiff competition from the TMC-GNLF alliance in this election. Helping the TMC-GNLF alliance will be the formation of development boards, creation of Kalimpong district and Mirik sub-division by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and exodus of senior GJM leaders.
Following is the breakdown for the polling today:
Darjeeling: 32 wards
Polling stations: 81
Male voters: 30709
Female voters: 32120
Total Voters: 62829
No. of Candidates: 95 (GJM: 32, TMC: 20, GNLF: 12, JAP: 5, CPIM: 4 IND: 22)
Kurseong: 20 wards
Polling stations 27
Male voters: 9882
Female voters: 10866
Total Voters: 20748
No. of Candidates: 57 (GJM: 20, TMC: 15, GNLF: 6, JAP: 6, IND: 10)
Mirik: 9 wards
Polling stations 10
Male voters: 4333
Female voters: 4542
Total Voters: 8875
No. of Candidates: 34 (GJM: 9, TMC: 7, GNLF: 2, JAP: 6, IND: 10)
Kalimpong: 23 wards
Polling stations: 46
Male voters: 18114
Female voters: 18487
Total Voters: 36601
No. of Candidates: 102 (GJM: 22, TMC: 19, JAP: 23, GNLF: 3, CPIM: 9, IND: 26).