Polling for the first phase will be will held across five districts include Purulia, Paschim Medinipur Part I, Bankura Part I, Purbo Medinipur Part I and Jhargram parts of which form the tribal-dominated Jangalmahal region, once the hotbed of Maoist extremists that has witnessed prolonged bloodbath and power struggle among the key political forces.
Voters will exercise their franchise in seven Purbo Medinipur constituencies, six Paschim Medinipur, four in Jhargram, Nine in Purulia and four in Bankura.
The thirty Assembly Constituencies of West Bengal going to polls in first phase are:
1.Patashpur 2. Kanthi Uttar 3. Bhagabanpur 4. Khejuri (SC) 5. Kanthi Dakshin 6. Ramnagar 7. Egra 8. Dantan 9. Nayagram (ST) 10. Gopiballavpur 11. Jhargram 12. Keshiary (ST) 13. Kharagpur 14. Garbeta 15. Salboni 16. Medinipur 17. Binpur (ST) 18. Bandwan (ST) 19. Balarampur 20. Baghmundi 21. Joypur 22. Purulia 23. Manbazar (ST) 24. Kashipur 25. Para (SC) 26. Raghunathpur (SC) 27. Saltora
(SC) 28. Chhatna 29. Ranibandh (ST) 30. Raipur (ST) In the first phase, 191 candidates will be vying for the 30 seats in which 21(11%) are female candidates.
Prominent candidates in this phase include Trinamool Congress candidates — Akhil Giri, Birbaha Hansda, actress June Malia and Khagendranath Mahato, BJP candidates —Rabindranath Maity, Tapan Bhuiya and CPI(M) candidate Pulin Bihari Baske.
The Election Commission (EC) has extended polling time by 30 minutes for the first phase of West Bengal assembly elections.
A notification issued by the poll panel said that the voters will now be able to exercise their franchise from 7 am to 6.30 pm. It said the decision was taken because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
The Election Commission has made elaborate security arrangements with the deployment of central and state forces to ensure a free fair and peaceful poll.
Besides general election observers and expenditure observers, the poll panel deployed a special police observer Vivek Dube.
The Election Commission will deploy at least 684 companies of CAPF in 10,288 booths spread in about 7,034 premises in five districts in the first phase of polling in West Bengal on March 27, a senior official said.
He said. Keeping in mind the Maoist activity in the Jhargram district, the EC has decided to deploy 11 paramilitary personnel per booth, the highest in any election in the state so far.
The other districts where the election will be held on that day will have an average of six paramilitary personnel per booth. The official said altogether 144 companies of central forces will be deployed in Jhargram for the election.
In the politically charged state, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Prime Minister Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are locked in a bitter contest this time.
The TMC headed by two-time Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is striving hard to score a hat-trick. The BJP is also leaving no stone unturned to make sure lotus blooms in the state.
The third front has the CPI-M and Congress entering into a seat-sharing arrangement, and this combination is also trying to align with the ISF.
The politics in West Bengal has largely been dominated by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). For nearly 40 years, since 1980, the state remained isolated from national politics. The local narrative has always been ruled by Leftist ideologies.
In 2011, Mamta Banerjee broke this trend and has ruled the state for 10 consecutive years. Now, the TMC is eyeing to withhold its power for the third straight term in the state. The CPI(M), which is contesting with Congress has gradually started fading in the state since 2011.
It is for the first-time when Modi-led Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has hogged the limelight in the state. The BJP is aiming to make a debut as the ruling party in Bengal. If the BJP comes to power, then this 2021 assembly election will be remembered for bringing a paradigm shift in the political narrative of West Bengal.
The campaign was marked by a war of words among the ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJP and the Left-Congress-ISF combine.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president JP Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Cabinet Minister Smriti Irani, Nitin Gadkari, Dharmendra Pradhan, Uttar Pradesh/Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, West Bengal BJP in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh were the star campaigners for BJP.
Actors-turned-politicians such as Locket Chatterjee, Roopa Ganguly, Babul Supriyo, Manoj Tiwari, Srabanti Chatterjee, Paayel Sarkar and Hiran Chatterjee have also campaigned for the BJP
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Youth Congress president Abhishek Banerjee, state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and senior Left leaders campaigned for their respective fronts. West Bengal assembly election is going to be a high stake event as both BJP and TMC have unleashed challenge against each other.
Even months before the polls, BJP has been aggressively campaigning in the state, targeting the incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government.
Several big names of the TMC have left their party and joined BJP ahead of the election, questioning the conduct of the Mamata Banerjee led state government.
Names like Suvendu Adhikari, Rajib Banerjee, Baishali Dalmiya, former Howrah mayor Rathin Chakraborty and actor Rudranil Ghosh, others have joined the BJP ahead of elections.
The campaign was characterised by a no-holds-barred tirade of allegations and counter-allegations and ruling Trinamool Congress going all out to retain power for the third successive term.
The Trinamool Congress chief called upon the people to defeat the BJP while the Prime Minister urged voters to exercise their franchise in his party’s favour.
The assembly election in West Bengal will be held in eight phases. The voting will take place in eight phases–on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.