West Bengal Election 2021: More than 75 lakh voters will decide the fate of 191 candidates in 30 assembly seats going to polls tomorrow (April 1) in Phase-2. However, all eyes will be on high-profile Nandigram constituency, where sitting chief minister Mamata Banerjee is taking on her former cabinet colleague Suvendu Adhikari.
PTI reports that all 10,620 booths where polling will be held in the second phase have been declared as sensitive by the Election Commission. Around 651 companies of central forces have been deployed besides the state police at strategic locations during the polling which will begin at 7 AM on Thursday.
As per the report, a total 199 companies of central forces will be deployed in Purba Medinipur, 210 companies in Paschim Medinipur, 170 in South 24 Parganas and 72 in Bankura.
Mamata Banerjee-led TMC and the BJP are contesting in all the 30 seats. The Left is fighting on 15 while its alliance partner Congress is contesting on 13 and ISF on just 2. In the second phase, polling will take place in nine seats of West Medinipur, eight in Bankura, four seats in South 24 Parganas and nine in East Medinipur.
Nandigram, which is going to polls tomorrow, falls in East Medinipur, considered to be the stronghold of the Adhikaris. Suvendu Adhikari, who was once Mamata’s close confidante, is the sitting MLA from Nandigram. In 2016, he contested from here as TMC candidate and cornered over 67 per cent votes. This time, Suvendu is contesting against his former boss on the BJP ticket and has announced that he will defeat her by over 50,000 votes.
Nandigram has become a prestige battle for both Suvendu and Mamata.
Of the 30 seats going to polls in phase two, 23 were won by the TMC in the 2016 assembly elections and five by the Left Front. The Congress and BJP had bagged one each. However, in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the saffron party made massive inroads in the tribal-dominated Jangal Mahal region (Bankura, Purulia, Paschim Medinipur, Jhargram) by sweeping all the five Lok Sabha seats.
Besides Nandigram, Sabang is another prominent seat where TMC has fielded its Rajya Sabha MP Manas Bhunia against BJP’s Amulya Maity. Maity was earlier with the Trinamool but joined the BJP ahead of the assembly elections. A former state Congress president, Bhunia had held the Sabang assembly seat from 1982 to 2016 as Congress candidate before switching over to the TMC in September 2016.
From Bankura seat, the Trinamool has fielded popular actor Sayantika Banerjeeto to take on BJP’s Niladri Sekhar Dana. The Left has fielded Congress candidate Radharani Banerjee. In Debra, two former IPS officers are taking on each other — BJP’s Bharati Ghosh is up against TMC’s Humayun Kabir.