2nd part of phase-I: 70 Lakh west Bengal voters to seal fate of candidates in 31 seats today
Altogether 163 candidates, including 21 women, are in the fray in the 31 seats of West Midnapore, Bankura and Burdwan districts. Around 70 lakh people are eligible to cast their votes between 7 am and 6 pm while districts like Bankura and Burdwan are reeling under heatwave with the Met office predicting no respite is in sight for the next three to four days.
The hustings will witness a triangular contest among the ruling Trinamool Congress, Left Front-Congress alliance, and BJP. All of them have fielded candidates in all the 31 seats. Five-time CPI-M MLA from Narayangarh and Leader of Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra, senior state Congress leader Manas Bhuniya from Sabang are among the major candidates in this phase.
91-year-old Gyan Singh Sohanpal, the senior most member in the Assembly, is in the fray again from Kharagpur Sadar seat where he is pitted against BJP state president Dilip Ghosh.
Two prominent newbies - Bengali film actor Soham Chakraborty and Colonel (retired) Diptanshu Chaudhury, who had fought in the Kargil War - are trying their luck in politics on Trinamool Congress and BJP tickets respectively. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has made all necessary security arrangements to ensure free and fair elections today.
Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar made it clear that there will be enough deployment of central forces outside all the polling stations. This time the Commission has given a clear instruction that neither Central forces jawans or the state police will be allowed to enter the polling booths.
Elections will take place in 13 Assembly constituencies in West Midnapore on Monday where there are 29,73,217 voters. Nine Assembly constituencies each from the districts of Bankura and Burdwan will go to poll on Monday. In Bankura there are 19,85,616 voters and 69,91,487 voters in Burdwan.
The total number of candidates contesting the election on the second day of Phase I scheduled on Monday is 163 in which West Midnapore has 59, Bankura 54 and Burdwan 50 candidates respectively. There are 3,656 polling stations in West Midnapore, 2,428 polling stations in Bankura and 2,379 in Burdwan.
Therefore the total number of polling stations in the three districts is 8,465 including two auxiliary polling stations in Burdwan. A total number of 8,465 EVMs will be deployed in 31 Assembly constituencies and 1,239 EVMs will be kept in reserve. Only in Bankura assembly constituencies the VVPAT machines will be used, Sarkar said.
To maintain the surveillance 286 digital cameras will be used in West Midnapore, 248 Burdwan, 78 video cameras in West Midnapore 395 in Bankura and 109 in Burdwan. According to the Commission around 429 booths in West Midnapore and 110 booths in Burdwan will be under the surveillance of the CCTV cameras. A total number of 36,638 polling personnel will be deployed in the three districts. The poll will be conducted from 7 am to 6 pm.