Voters in a holiday mood while standing in a queue at a Salt Lake booth. (Bishwarup Dutta)
The mercury has been lying low for the past two days but there were fears of a downpour.
Though Wednesday began with a spell of thundershower, the sky cleared around 10am, prompting more than 70 per cent of Calcuttans to step out and exercise their franchise.
Deserted roads and a generally peaceful electioneering added to the comfort factor on the poll day.
“The weather was a blessing, a privilege in fact. We were fearing heavy rainfall, which could have resulted in lower turnout and other problems. Today was a perfect day for polling,” chief electoral officer Debashis Sen told Metro.
Officials said around 73 per cent of the electorate in Calcutta North and 70 per cent in Calcutta South exercised their franchise on the final day of the five-phase general elections.
“I went to vote because the weather was pleasant. Who wants to stand in long queues under the blazing sun for hours?” said Abhari Das, a resident of Lake Town.
The day’s maximum temperature, at 34.1 degree Celsius, was two degrees below normal. The minimum temperature, too, was two degrees below normal, at 23.9.
The discomfort index touched 60 degree Celsius, five degrees above normal. The humidity ranged between 95 and 62 per cent.
Also a pleasant surprise for voters was the peaceful environment across the city.
The authorities had sensed trouble during the polls and made elaborate security arrangements, deploying a 20,000-strong force of the Calcutta police and 50 companies of CRPF across the city.
More than 11,500 personnel from the state police and 96 companies of a central force were deployed in North 24-Parganas.
In South 24-Parganas, the authorities had deployed 93 companies of the central force and 13,000 men from the state police.
“I was fearing clashes between political parties but was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the booth. Everything moved as planned. There were cops outside and BSF men inside the polling centres, helping the aged and first-time voters,” said Rajnish Aggarwal, 20, a first-time voter from Sir Hari Ram Goenka Street in Burrabazar.