April 10, 2021 5:45:34 am
The electoral fate of 373 candidates, including 50 women, will be sealed in the ballot box as 44 Assembly segments, the highest in the eigth-phase polls, vote in the fourth leg on Saturday. These seats are spread over South 24 Parganas (11 seats), Hooghly (10), Howrah (nine), Cooch Behar (nine) and Alipurduar (five) districts.
Perhaps, the most watched battle in this phase is between BJP MP and Union Minister Babul Supriyo and state Public Works Department and Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Aroop Biswas for the Bengal’s tinseltown of Tollygunje.
Besides Biswas, three other state ministers are in the fray: Education Minister Partha Chatterjee (Behala Paschim) in South 24 Parganas), Minister for Agriculture Marketing Arup Roy (Howrah Madhya) and Minister for North Bengal Development Rabindranath Ghosh (Natabari in Cooch Behar).
In this phase, the BJP has fielded two more MPs: Locket Chatterjee (Chinsurah, Hooghly) and Nisith Pramanik (Dinhata, Cooch Behar).
Former minister in the Trinamool government Rajib Banerjee is contesting on a BJP ticket from Domjur in Howrah; cricketer Manoj Tiwary (TMC) from Shibpur in Howrah; and TMC’s Ratna Chatterjee, estranged wife of BJP’s Sovan Chatterjee, from Behala Purba.
In the last Assembly polls, the TMC had won 39, the Left Front three, the BJP and Congress one each.
With total 15,940 polling stations, the Election Commission has deployed 35 general observers, 10 expenditure observers and nine poll observers.
Total 956 CAPF companies will be deployed, of which, 736 companies will be on poll duty.
Total 1,15,81,022 voters will exercise their franchise between 7am and 6.30pm.
In view of the rising Covid-19 cases, the Election Commission has decided to allow not more than 1,000 electors at each polling station against the earlier cap of 1,500.
The postal ballot option has been extended to Covid patients or those in home or institutional quarantine.
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