The hard-line battle for Bengal begins on Saturday where 30 constituencies were up for grabs for the ruling party Trinamool Congress, an emerging BJP, and the Congress-left–ISF alliance. The constituencies spread across tribal dominated districts- Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram, West Mednipur and East Mednipur has 191 candidates including 21 in poll fray. As per Election Commission on 26th March, 70 lakh voters spread across the 30 constituencies will have to vote on 27th March that is on very first day of polls. Voting was set to begin at 7AM and continued till 6PM.
Here are the seats in the poll fray: Patashpur, Kanthi Uttar, Bhagwanpur, Khejuri, Kanthi Dakshin, Ramnagar, Egra, Nayagram, Dantan, Gopiballavpur, Jhargram, Keshiary, Kharagpur, Garbeta, Salboni, Medinipur, Binpur, Bandwan, Balrampur, Baghmundi, Joypur, Purulia, Manbazar, Kashipur, Para, Raghunathpur, Saltora, Chhatna, Ranibandh and Raipur. As per EC Bengal has 7.32 crore voters who will vote at 1,01,916 booths for the 294 seats.
There are few key constituencies in Saturday’s poll fray which have their different importance. They are:
- Jhargram- It is a TMC hold which had been vacant since TMC MLA Sukumar Hansda passed away in 2020. This time there is a faceoff between actor and TMC candidate Birbaha Hansda and BJP’s Sukhmoy Satpati. This constituency is dominated by SC/ST communities- Santhals and Kurmis is being eyed by both parties as Kurmis dominate in about 30 out of 42 constituencies in the region.
- West Mednipur- It is a CPM- turned TMC hold constituency. Mednipur will witness a battle between BJP’s Samit Kumar Das and TMC’s June Maliah while CPM has Tarun Kumar Ghosh. Mednipur is Suvendu Adhikari’s homeground will be key to see whether Adhikari is able to turn the vote in favour of BJP or not.
- Purulia- Here there is a three-way fight, sitting Congress MLA Sudip Mukherjee who joined the BJP recently will face Congress’ Partha Pratim Banerjee and TMC’s Sujoy Banerjee. This seat has a 19.35% SC population and 19.22% ST population.
- Ramnagar- A TMC hold constituency in Kanthi district will witness a battle between veteran and incumbent MLA Akhil Giri and BJP’s Swadesh Ranjan Nayak while Sabyasachi Jana is contesting from CPI(M).
- Kharagpur- Another seat from Suvendu Adhikari’s stamping ground-Mednipur. Kharagpur will witness a battle between CPM’s Sk. Saddam Ali and TMC’s Dinen Roy while BJP has Tapan Bhuiya.
The saffron party is gearing for a tough battle in Bengal aiming to attain 200 plus seats, while not fielding a CM face yet. BJP has also seen an influx of aggrieved TMC leaders like- Suvendu Adhikari and his two brothers, Rajib Banerjee, Vaishali Dalmiya and many more.
TMC on the other hand has pushed Mamata Banerjee’s ‘Bengal’s daughter’ image daring the BJP with its slogan ‘Khela Hobe’. Mamata has filed her nomination from Nandigram taking BJP’s challenge.
The Congress-Left-ISF completed its seat-sharing pact with Congress having 92 seats, Left 165 seats and ISF 37 seats. This Left front will contest from Nandigram against Mamata and Adhikari. Siddiqui who also held talks with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has said that he will not field candidates where AIMIM is contesting.
A total of 73,80,942 voters are eligible to cast their franchise in the first phase of West Bengal Assembly elections 2021. Out of them 37,52,938 are males and 36,27,949 are females while there are 55 third gender voters. Till the end of Phase 1 of Bengal elections final voter turnout reaches 79.79%.