Can we start a page with an equation on the left side, then an image and then other content in IEEE format. Is it not compulsory to start the column with an image only?
It depends on the type of document that you are preparing.
In (most) conference papers, you have a lot more freedom on the placement of images and equations so you can have your equation at the top of a page and images in the middle. Considering, however, that equations are part of the normal text, it is not best practice to do so. Also, if you are using LaTeX to typeset your document, the top of the page is better suited for images and text because of white space.
In (most) IEEE journal papers, it does not really matter, as the final document will be typeset for you and figures go at the top of the page.