West Bengal elections, phase 4: Bitter contests around Kolkata today

Howrah & North 24-Parganas are TMC bastions but aggressive BJP, resurgent Left-Congress too hopeful

Written by Subrata Nagchoudhury | Kolkata | Updated: April 25, 2016 7:44 am
Central Force jawans keep strict vigil in front of a polling station on the eve of 4th phase of West Bengal Assembly election,in Howrah district of West Bengal on Sunday. PTI Photo(PTI4_24_2016_000218A) Central Force jawans keep strict vigil in front of a polling station on the eve of 4th phase of West Bengal Assembly election,in Howrah district of West Bengal on Sunday. PTI Photo

The West Bengal polls enter the fourth phase Monday with the rivalry extremely bitter in a number of high-profile contests and the security arrangements unprecedented, the Election Commission having imposed prohibitory orders against assembly of more than four persons at one place.

The fourth phase covers 49 seats around Kolkata — 33 in North 24-Parganas and 16 in Howrah. These areas are largely Trinamool Congress bastions but even Trinamool party managers do not rule out a few upsets; some of them said they fear “sabotage” in some seats because of intense infighting.

LIVE Updates of West Bengal elections, Phase 4 polling

The BJP is the one party from which some Trinamool Congress leaders fear a couple of surprises, given the aggressive campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has addressed six rallies. The assembly seats he visited saw a massive turnout, with some of his rallies reminiscent of 2014 rallies that swayed thousands of Lok Sabha voters. One of these was Basirhat South, a seat with a large Muslim population, and the only one with a BJP MLA — Shamik Bhattacharya, elected in a bypoll.

Siddharth Nath Singh, BJP national spokesperson, predicted that his party will do extremely well. While he refused to go into numbers, Singh said the BJP is in the contest in all seats. “The TMC and the CPM are using the same yardstick — fake videos and morphed photos to malign us. Both the TMC and the CPM seemed to have given up on ideology. I hope BJP will come out with stunning results,” Singh said.

The CPM top leadership including Sitaram Yechury is camping in Kolkata. The CPM leadership claims that if the high security arrangements can stop “vote loot”, the Left-Congress combine holds a fair chance of regaining some of the ground it has lost.

The 33 seats in North 24-Parganas are in two broad subdivisions, Basirhat and Barrackpore. In Basirhat particularly, the Congress-CPM combine can pose a challenge to the TMC in seats such as Swarupnagar, Hinjalganj, Deganga, Bagda, Sandeshkhali. But in Barrackpore, which includes Naihati, Bhatpara, Jagaddal, Noapara, Kamarhati , Khardah and Dum Dum, the Trinamool is expected to find the going relatively easy.

Some of the most interesting fights in North 24-Parganas will be in Khardah where Finance Minister Amit Mitra will face his Left Front predecessor Asim Dasgupta, Kamarhati where Madan Mitra is fighting from jail against Manas Mukherjee of the CPM, and Dum Dum where Tourism Minister Bratya Basu fighting for a second term. In Howrah, one of the most solid bases of the ruling party, Howrah North has actress Rupa Ganguly of the BJP pitted against cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla of the Trinamool Congress, while Jagmohan Dalmiya’s daughter Baishali is contesting from Bally.

Since Saturday night, central police forces have assembled at Salt Lake, Rajarhat and Howrah and checked each vehicle entering. Hotels are under the scanner and since early morning the EC has been asking “non-residents” to move out of these areas.

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  1. A
    Ajoy kumar
    Apr 26, 2016 at 6:39 pm
    After 4th Phase W.B embly Election 2016, the ruling TMC Party is Trailing and opposition CPIM Leaded Left front Indian National Congress alliance are ahead.
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    1. A
      Alo
      Apr 25, 2016 at 11:59 am
      God knows, how long Mamata Banerjee will continue in power; but this time she may (certainly) be, because opposition/alliance in WB is not strong enough to hit the drum to go in power. Mamata Banerjee is matured enough now, in terms of remaining in power (in capturing power?), compared to the past, although ‘cheet-fund’ and ‘narod’ cultures have somewhat stained the brightness of the ‘ghasfool’. But, it seems that TMC bothers little about their blurring image? When the election results will start to come into the light, TMC and its leaders, from top to bottom, will flourish themselves in a second phase of ‘blue and green’ game/tenure, avoiding the reality of the mind-set of the m people of the WB, and will also start manage to demoralize/demolish their counterparts in one way or another, as ‘people-in-power’ always did/have been doing, ignoring normal democratic norms, practices, and values. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;People, in general, like to have money and power, except a few, by any means, not only in WB but around the world, to show their superiority/supremacy in society as well as in the fertile-ground of the power-structure in which way they like to, let behind the ordinary poor and powerless people, who did not/do not try to have little flavour of the power-game but to live in peace in hand to mouth. Politics, or say, patterns of political culture of destructing and demoralizing their counterparts had/have always thrown them (the poor and the downtrodden) to an uncertain, darkened, and hopeless arena, where no dream is a fact for them as well as for their next generation. Power-game comes and power-game goes, but a ‘sound sleep’ for the downtrodden is always a farsighted dream to be kept their family members in pleasure. They (people outside the power-circle) like to go by the little money they can manage to earn with honesty, but they don’t know currently ‘dishonesty empowers the supreme-power’, which is a normal stream more or less all over. Moreover, ‘honesty is the best policy’ is applicable for the people at large only, but not for the sp-called politicians, except a few, especially those who are in power or like/likely to be in power. Who dear to say, money, muscle, and morality cannot cross the road together.
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      1. Lohit Agarwal
        Apr 26, 2016 at 5:24 am
        The only surprise that the elections in West Bengal will produce is that of BJP losing and being kicked out of the state. Congress and Left alliance stand no chance so there’s no surprise there, they’re anyways losing and will be the final nail in their coffin. The Congress-Left alliance have been living on life support in Bengal but now no more, they will finally be finished in Bengal. Trinamool will win by a huge margin and Mamata Banerjee will become the Chief Minister once again.
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        1. Lohit Agarwal
          Apr 25, 2016 at 8:20 am
          Whether it’s phase 1,2,3 or 4 Trinamool is winning West Bengal elections hands down and we are going to see Mamata Banerjee as the Chief Minister for another term as she brings development and good governance to West Bengal and the people will always vote for that.
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          1. M
            mast kalandar
            Apr 25, 2016 at 5:41 pm
            Mamata ka Baniya chamchaa!!! has she given a ration shop or lpg distributorship to your family...that you taking pride in licking her dirty LEGS ???
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