Polling began in 18 constituencies spread across three western districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia amid tight security.
The 18 poll-going constituencies include — nine in Purulia, three in Bankura and six in West Midnapore.
“A little over 23 percent turnout has been recorded in the first two hours. There are no reports of violence,” said an election commission official.
“An average of 24 percent polling was reported in West Midnapore, 22.5 percent in Bankura and 23.4 percent in Purulia,” said the official, adding that a few complaints of electronic voting machine malfunctioning have been received.
In 13 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected constituencies, polling will end two hours early at 4.00 p.m.
As many as 40,09,171 electors including 16 transgender voters will exercise their franchise in the first stage which has 133 candidates in the fray.
The staggered six-phase elections for 294 assembly seats are spread over seven polling dates and will continue till May 5.
Among major candidates in the fray are state minister Sukumar Hansda of All India Trinamool Congress from Jhargram constituency and Communist Part of India-Marxist Pulin Bihari Baske contesting from Gopiballavpur.
The other six polling dates are April 11, 17, 21, 25, 30 and May 5.