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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Final curtain rings on electioneering in Bengal at 6 PM


 The hustle-bustle of a high-pitch electioneering for Saturday’s last and final phase election to nine Lok Sabha seats in Bengal is coming to an end at 6 PM on Thursday.

Altogether 1,63,40,365 electorate, including 80,20,326 women, will exercise their franchise in 17,470 polling stations spreading over two districts of South and North 24-Parganas and Kolkata to elect nine winners among the 72 contestants.

The last phase, which has the highest number of seats from all six previous phases, will witness ruling TMC’s second-in-command Abhishek Banerjee seek his third straight term in Parliament from the Diamond Harbour seat in South 24 Parganas.

Besides Diamond Harbour, eight other Lok Sabha seats are Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar.

About 967 companies of Central forces and some 33,000 state police will ensure free and fair polling from 7 AM to 6 PM.

Basirhat in North 24-Parganas will have the highest number of 116 central armed forces, where Sandeshkhali incidents are still haunting the the people, and one of the prime issues for the Opposition parties. Sundarbans, which faced the wrath of Remal this week, will have 114 companies of Central forces.

Dumdum has total 16,99,656 voters, including 8,61,521 women, while Barasat has 19,05,400 voters, including 9,46,443 women, Basirhat has 18,04,261 voters, including 8,80,85 women, and Jaynagar (SC) has 18,44,780 voters, including 9,03,184 women.

Mathurapur, also a seat reserved for SC, has 18,17,068 voters, including 8,33,450 women, while Diamond Harbour has 18,80,779 electorate, including 9,26,061 women, Jadavpur has 20,33,525 voters, including 10,26,628 women, Kolkata South has 18,49,520 voters, including 9,02,176 women, and Kolkata North has the lowest 15,05,369 voters, including 6,90,011 women.

Whilst TMC and BJP have fielded all nine candidates, CPI(M) has fielded in six and its Left allies AIFB, RSP and Congress one each.The remaining candidates are Independents.

However, the electorate is focusing mainly on the two key rivals – Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC and her arch political opponent the BJP, which is aiming to win 30 seats as per Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s target to pave the way for dislodging the ruling party in near future.

For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has targeted 30 of West Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha segments, the last phase is being seen as the most crucial.Baranagar Assembly seat also goes simultaneously for byelection on June 1.In the 2019 Lok Sabha poll the TMC won all the nine seats among its 22.Veteran Sougata Roy is seeking his fourth straight term for TMC and is facing BJP’s Silbhadra Dutta and CPI(M)’s Sujan Chakraborty.Similarly Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of TMC is in fight against BJP’s Swapan Majumdar and AIFB’s Sanjib Chatterjee.In Basirhat TMC’s Haji Nurul Islam is in fight against BJP’s Rekha Patra, the face of Sandeshkhali uprise against alleged TMC goons in North 24 Parganas, and CPI(M) veteran Nirapada Sardar, who also fought in the agitation at Sandeshkhali and was in jail before getting bail.TMC this time changed its candidate replacing moviestar Nusrat Jahan.For Jaynagar in South 24 Parganas TMC’s sitting MP Pratima Mondal will face BJP’s Asoke Kandari and RSP’s Samarendra Nath Mondal.In Mathurapur TMC’s Bapi Haldar will face Ashoke Purkait from BJP and CPI(M)’s Sarat Chandra Haldar. TMC this time replaced its winning candidate Mohan Jatua.Diamond Harbour has TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee contesting agaist BJP’s Abhijit Das alias Bobby and CPI(M)’s Pratikur Rahaman.in Jadavpur TMC’s Sayani Ghosh will contest against BJP’s Anirban Ganguly and CPI(M)’s Srijan Bhattacharya. The TMC replaced its MP Mimi Chakraborty.Kolkata Dakshin has sitting TMC MP Mala Roy, who will face BJP’s Deboshree Chowdhury, a former Union Minister, and CPI(M)’s Saira Shah Halim.Kolkata Uttar has TMC MP Sudip Banerjee against BJP’s Tapas Roy, whi left the Trinamool Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha election and joined the saffron brigade, and Congress’ Pradip Bhattacharjee.

Counting for the 42 Lok Sabha seats and one Assembly seat in the state will be taken up on June 4.

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