Updated: March 29, 2021 2:16:31 pm
Ahead of the second phase of polling on April 1, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday held a massive rally in Nandigram, where she is pitted against TMC turncoat and her former protégé Suvendu Adhikari.
The high-stakes constituency in Purba Medinipur district, along with 29 other constituencies, will go to polls in the second phase on April 1.
Flanked by TMC leaders and supporters, Mamata led a 8-km-long ‘padyatra’ from Reyapara Khudiram More to Thakur chowk in her wheelchair, as she greeted people with folded hands.
The feisty TMC boss has announced that she will stay in Nandigram till the end of phase 2.
It is also reported that Union Home Minister Amit Shah will likely take part in a roadshow in Nandigram on Tuesday.
Campaigning for the second phase will end at 5 pm on April 30.
In the first phase, Bengal recorded nearly 80% voter turnout on Saturday. Despite incidents of violence and allegations of rigging in some areas of Bengal, the overall polling process remained peaceful. Purba Medinipur recorded the highest turnout at 82.51 per cent, followed by Jhargram at 80.56, Paschim Medinipur at 80.12 per cent, Bankura at 79.90 per cent and Purulia at 77.07 per cent.
The stakes are high in Bengal this time as the contest in most seats will be fought primarily between Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, that swept the last two elections, and the BJP, which won 0 and 3 seats respectively in those two elections.
However, the political scenario has undergone a major upheaval this time as the BJP rose to win 18 of 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, with a vote share of 40.64 per cent. Also, several top TMC leaders have defected to the saffron party in recent months.
Assembly election in West Bengal is being conducted in eight phases, with the third to eighth phase scheduled on April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29.
The number of polling booths in West Bengal is 101,916 compared to 77,413 in 2016—an increase of 31.65 per cent. The number of voters in each polling station has been restricted to 1,000 from 1,500, resulting in an increase in the number of booths.
Counting of votes in Bengal, along with Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry, has been scheduled on May 2.
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