The first phases of the Bengal and Assam Assembly elections have started, with 30 seats in Bengal and 47 in Assam voting. In Bengal, the ruling Trinamool and the opposition BJP - who have waged a high-stakes, sometimes shrill and often vicious campaign over the past few weeks - will both be eager to make a strong start. The Congress-Left alliance - widely expected to finish a distant third - is also in the mix. In Assam the BJP faces a challenge from the Congress-led 'mahajot', or 'grand alliance' to retain power. In the 2016 Bengal election the Trinamool won 26 of these 30 seats. In Assam, the BJP produced a similar performance to win 35 of 47 seats. Polling booths across both states opened at 7 am and closes at 6 pm; timings have been extended by an hour due to the Covid pandemic.