The first round of polls will be held in Bengal. Both the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP want to outdo each other in their election promises and campaign rhetoric.
While the BJP is trying to form the first government in the state, the Left-ISF-Congress alliance is also trying to surprise.
Elections are being held in eight phases in West Bengal and three in Assam.
Thirty constituencies in West Bengal and 47 in Assam are going to the polls in the first phase today.
In the first phase of voting, the electoral fate of 191 candidates, including 21 women, will be decided.
The TMC and the BJP have fielded candidates in each of the 29 seats, while the Left-Congress-ISF alliance has fielded candidates in all the 30 seats in a “friendly fight”.
Voters at polling stations will follow the Kovid protocol
In the first phase, all constituencies in Purulia, four in Bankura, four in Jhargram and six in West Midnapore, as well as seven seats in East Midnapore – will be held at the home ground of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. .
Other notable seats in the first round include Salbani, where the CPI (M) has fielded former minister Susanta Ghosh against BJP’s Rajiv Kundu and TMC’s Srikanth Mahata. Ghosh, MLA of Garbeta from 1987 to 2016, was in jail in a skeleton recovery case and is currently out on bail.
TMC has fielded actress Jun Malia against BJP’s Samit Kumar Das from Medinipur constituency on the famous Bengali silver screen. The candidate of the Left-led alliance is Tarun Kumar Ghosh of the CPI.
In another important contest, Santal actor Birbaha Hansada is fighting against BJP’s Sukhamoy Satpathy and CPI (M) youth leader Madhuja Sen Roy on a TMC ticket from Jhargram.
The seven seats in East Midnapore – Potashpur, Kanthi North, Bhagwanpur, Khejuri, Kanti Dakshin, Ramnagar and Igra – will be closely monitored by the BJP and TMC.
Voting will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 6 p.m.
In Assam, the Congress is contesting 43 out of 447 seats in the first phase.
A total of 2264 candidates including 2 women are in the fray from 477 seats.
Most of these seats will likely face a triangular battle between the ruling BJP-AGP alliance, the Congress-led opposition grand alliance and the newly formed Assam National Assembly (AJP).
In the first phase, 3 sitting MLAs are contesting again, 24 from BJP, 6 from Congress and AGP and one from AIUDF.
The state is preparing for the elections amid tight security
Officials said the Election Commission had deployed about 6,400 agencies of the central forces, which were under tight security, to protect 10,26 polling booths located in 0611 premises.
Also, state police will be deployed in strategic locations, they added.
In Jhargram, 11 paramilitary personnel will be deployed per booth, the highest ever for any election in the state, officials said. In other districts, an average of six paramilitary personnel will be deployed at each booth, officials said.
“With the Left Branch of Jhargram declaring all 1,307 booths in 1,1010 premises as finalist (LW) areas, we have decided to deploy 127 agencies of the central forces to operate the booths only,” an Election Commission official told PTI.
He said 14 more organizations of the Central Force would be used as Quick Response Team (QRT), one agency for strong room maintenance and two more agencies would be reserved as District and Sub-Divisional Striking Force.
A total of 144 agencies of the central forces will be deployed in Jhargram for the elections. “Central forces will be mainly deployed in and around the booths and state forces will be used to maintain law and order. Rows of constables will be used for management,” the official said.
The survey speeds up the campaign
Campaigning has accelerated in both states, and leaders of rival parties have stepped up their efforts to encourage voters in other states as well.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief JP Nadda, Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have been campaigning for the party in the past few days.
Prime Minister Modi addressed a public meeting in West Bengal and two in Assam on Wednesday.
Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Bhadra, former Union Ministers Salman Khurshid, Mallikarjun Kharg and Manish Tewari, party leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Ripun Bora, Jitendra Singh, Gaurav Gogoi and Omen Chandi have been campaigning for the party.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is leading the party’s campaign in the state. In Tamil Nadu, AIADMK, DMK, Makkal Nidhi Miyam and other regional parties have intensified their campaigns in less than ten days to become candidates.
Elections for 294 seats in West Bengal will be held in eight phases till April 29 and the results will be declared on May 2.
Assam will hold three-phase assembly elections on March 27, April 1 and April 1.