Nandigram Chooses Between Mamata and Suvendu on April 1. Campaigning For 2nd Phase Ends in Bengal

Campaigning for the second phase of West Bengal assembly poll ended on Tuesday evening, setting the stage for the voting in 30 constituencies spread across four districts on April 1. The fate of 171 candidates will be decided in the second phase by 75,94,549 voters who will exercise their franchise in 10,620 polling booths spread across the 30 constituencies, the Election Commission sources said.

Sensitive Booths

All the booths where polling will be held in the second phase have been declared as “sensitive” by the EC, sources in it said. It will deploy total 651 companies of Central Armed Police for this phase of election which will be held in Bankura (Part II), Purba Medinipur (Part II), Paschim Medinipur (Part II) and South 24 Parganas (Part I), they said.

A total 199 companies of CAPF will be deployed in Purba Medinipur, 210 companies in Paschim Medinipur, 170 in South 24 Parganas and 72 in Bankura, the sources said. The final day of the campaigning saw hectic canvassing for the Nandigram seat in Purba Medinipur district where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is facing BJP leader and her former follower Suvednu Adhikari.

High-octane Canvassing

Union Home Minister Amit Shah held roadshows with Bengal’s megastar Mithun Chakraborty in support of Adhikari in Nandigram during the day, while Banerjee, who is confined to a wheel chair following her injury which she had sustained while campaigning in the constituency, criss-crossed it addressing rallies at several venues. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda had led BJP’s campaign from the front addressing rallies at Kanthi and Nandigram and urging the electorate to vote for the saffron party to usher in ‘ashol poriborton’ (actual change) to build ‘Sonar Bangla’ (prosperous Bengal).

Modi in his rallies had attacked the TMC government and Banerjee, accusing her of “appeasement politics” and asserting that “khela shesh hobe” (game will be over). Other star campaigners of the BJP stressed on various scams of the ruling Trinamool Congress – from the Saradha and Narada tape scam to the recent allegations over the siphoning of funds for Amphan relief and the COVID-19 pandemic.

They highlighted the achievements of the BJP-led government at the Centre in their rallies and blamed the TMC government for not allowing schemes like the Ayushman Bharat, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi to be implemented in the state, where the BJP leaders claimed corruption and anarchy are prevalent. Banerjee, who has chosen to contest from Nandigram instad of from her home seat Bhowanipore in the city, stayed put there and campaigned from her wheelchair.

The feisty politician held two back-to-back rallies in Paschim Medinipur despite the early summer heat urging people to vote for TMC so that the development work taken up there by the government continued. Banerjee, who was accmpanied by TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee attacked on the Adhikary family, calling them “gaddars” (traitors) and “Mir Jafars” and asked people not to vote for them.

“Bangla wants her own daughter (Mamata). So vote for her,” Abhishek Banerjee urged in his meetings.

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