West Bengal elections 2021: 205 candidates to fight out at 31 seats in third phase
Kolkata, Apr 06: The third phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections will be held today with the contest between the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) be close due to demographics of these constituencies and strong presence of the ruling party.
It can be seen that the elections will be held in Hooghly, South 24 Parganas and Howrah districts. Out of the 205 candidates in the race, only 13 candidates are women. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has deployed more than 62,000 central armed police personnel for the third phase.
Similar to the second phase, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is enforced around the 10,871 polling booths in the three districts today to stop assembly of more than four people.
The number of electors in the third phase is 78,52,425 of whom a little less than half are women while 243 belong to the third gender.
In Hooghly district, where eight seats go to the polls, the BJP made sizeable inroads in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Actor-turned-politician Locket Chatterjee managed to wrest the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat while the BJP lost the Arambagh seat by about a thousand votes only.
Having promised to enforce the new citizenship law in Bengal if it comes to power, the BJP has set its eyes on the scheduled caste population, for whom the Dhaniakhali, Goghat and Arambagh seats are reserved.
It can be seen that Arambagh is likely to witness the most fierce contest, all parties say. The TMC has fielded Sujata Mondal Khan, the estranged wife of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) state president and Lok Sabha member Saumitra Khan from this seat. Sujata Mondal Khan joined the TMC in December after her husband sent a legal notice for divorce following a marital dispute.
Swapan Dasgupta, the BJP's Rajya Sabha member who resigned from the Parliament to contest the local elections, is contesting against the TMC's Ramendu Singha at the Tarakeshwar seat in Hooghly district.
Debjit Sarkar, the former state president of the BJYM, is contesting for the Jangipara seat. "I contested the local Lok Sabha seat but the situation is quite different now. I have felt the tension in some areas," Sarkar, who could not win in 2019, told HT on Monday night.
In South 24 Parganas district, where as many as 16 assembly segments are going to the polls, several are part of the Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency held by chief minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
The district, with 31 assembly constituencies, is a TMC stronghold. In the 2016 state polls, the ruling party won 29 seats. In 2019, when the BJP won 18 of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats and even made a dent in the adjacent North 24 Parganas district, voters in South 24 Parganas remained loyal to the TMC.