Three constituencies of the West Bengal Assembly – Bhabanipur in Kolkata, and Jangipur and Samserganj in Murshidabad district – went to bye-polls on Thursday.

Till 5 pm, Bhabanipur recorded a voter turnout of 53.32%. The turnout in Samserganj was 78.60% while in Jangipur it was 76.12%. The Election Commission said that the final turnout will be available on Friday, PTI reported.

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is the party’s candidate for the Bhabanipur seat, cast her vote in the evening, reported ANI.

The Bhabanipur bye-election is crucial for Banerjee as she needs to get elected as an MLA by the first week of November to continue as the chief minister.

In the West Bengal Assembly elections held earlier this year, Banerjee had contested from the Nandigram against her former aide Suvendu Adhikari. He had defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party before the polls. Banerjee lost Nandigram to Adhikari by a margin of 1,956 votes.

For the Bhabanipur bye-poll, the saffron party has fielded lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal against Banerjee. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Srijib Biswas is also contesting the election.

More than three lakh people are eligible to vote in the bye-poll, NDTV reported. The counting of votes will take place on October 3.

A scuffle broke out between supporters of the BJP and Trinamool Congress in Padmapukur area of the Bhabanipur Assembly constituency on Thursday evening. The Election Commission has asked the police to submit a report on the incident during which Trinamool Congress supporters allegedly vandalised the car of BJP leader Kalyan Choubey, ABP Ananda reported.

Choubey told reporters that BJP members had caught two people forging votes at a poll booth in a school. Choubey alleged that he was attacked by eight to 10 bike-borne people after he informed the police and central forces about the alleged forgery of votes, ANI reported.

Earlier on Thursday, Tibrewal, the BJP’s candidate, had alleged that Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra wanted to capture a booth in Bhabanipur and had deliberately turned off the voting machine there, ANI reported.

“We are hoping for fair elections,” Tibrewal said. “Security deployment is very important. I will visit polling booths in the area today. The state government is in fear right now.”

The BJP’s candidate also alleged that accused the Trinamool Congress of paying some people to cast their votes for the ruling party.

“A man confessed to me that TMC paid him Rs 500 to cast vote,” she alleged. “He was from Bansdroni. I have informed the authorities.”

The BJP filed a complaint with the Election Commission against TMC leaders Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee alleging that they were trying to influence voters at a polling booth in ward No. 72.

The TMC also registered a complaint with the poll panel against Tibrewal, accusing her of moving with an entourage of 20 cars and intimidating voters, PTI reported. Tibrewal has denied the charge.

In Samserganj, bombs were hurled a few hours before voting started on Thursday morning, PTI reported. The TMC accused the Congress of carrying out the attack. Meanwhile, the Congress has demanded a re-poll in nine booths of Samserganj constituency.

The Election Commission received a total of 40 complaints regarding rigging, threats, and influencing voters, the Hindustan Times reported. The BJP lodged 23 of these complaints.

On Tuesday, the commission had banned the gathering of five or more people under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in Bhabanipur. The prohibitory orders will be in place till the end of polling.