Fifty eight lakh voters will exercise their franchise to elect their favourite candidates in the sixth phase of election in West Bengal on Thursday. There are 170 candidates for 25 seats spreading over East Midnapore and Cooch Behar.
The most talked about seat is Nandigram where Subhendu Adhikari is fighting against his CPI(M) rival. During her visit to Nandigram in December 2015, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had announced that Subhendu would be the candidate from this seat. Adhikari who is an MP will resign. The CPI(M) and Congress have made a series of complaints against Adhikari. CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Misra had alleged on Tuesday that by treating the voters Adhikari had virtually bought them.
Trinamool Congress has decided to file a defamation case against Misra. Adhikari, a trusted lieutenant of Banerjee has highlighted the projects taken up by the state government in the past five years. His biggest achievement is to establish peace in Nandigram where CPI(M) had murdered people who had refused to give land. Mamata Banerjee had taken up the issue and later Nandigram became the Waterloo for CPI(M). Though CPI(M)’s main issue is restoring democracy in West Bengal, the statue of those who were killed in firing tell the story of CPI(M)’s torture and violence.
After Nandigram the next important seat in East Midnapore is Tamluk where Nirbed Roy is contesting. Mamata Banerjee replaced Soumen Mahapatra, the winning candidate of 2011 election. He is contesting from Pingla in West Midnapore. Roy was an MLA between 2001-06. State PWD minister Sudarshan Roy Chowdhury is contesting from Mahisadal.
In Cooch Behar the two important constituencies are Mekhliganj and Dinhata. In Mekhliganj, Arghya Roy Pradhan is contesting against former Food minister Paresh Adhikari. Arghya’s father Amar Roy Pradhan was a Forward Bloc MP for many years. Mamata Banerjee has played a master stroke by fielding Arghya from this seat.
Similarly, Banerjee has fielded Udayan Guha, son of Kamal Guha from Dinhata. Kamal Guha was an undisputed leader of Forward Bloc in the area. But his differences with CPI(M) widened towards the end of his life. Udayan was elected from the seat in 2011. In the public rally on Tuesday, Banerjee had urged voters to cast their votes in favour of Udayan. “Udayan wants to work hard for people and so give him a chance by casting your votes in his favour,” she said.
Thursday’s s election will be held in Trinamool’s stronghold. In 2011, TMC got 16 out of 16 seats in East Midnapore. Party workers and leaders have geared up to repeat the result. In Cooch Behar TMC is likely to do well, political experts feel. Of the 25 seats in two districts, TMC is likely to get 20-21 seats, they maintained.