In the poll-bound West Bengal, the high-decibel electioneering campaign for the Sixth Phase of Assembly Elections reaches a crescendo before its conclusion this evening. In view of rising cases of COVID-19, the Election Commission decided to curtail the campaign timing for the remaining three phases of eight-phase Assembly Elections. The Commission banned campaigning from 7 P.M. to 10 A.M. on all days, when it is allowed. It also extended the Silence Period from 48 hours to 72 hours before polling for the remaining phases and as a result, the campaign will end this evening. The poll body took a serious view against the repeated violations of COVID-19 norms by political leaders, campaigners and candidates. The polling process is already over in respect of 180 out of the total 294 Assembly seats in the earlier five phases.
During the Sixth Phase, total 306 candidates including 27 women will be vying for the 43 Assembly seats spread over four districts of West Bengal going to polls in this phase on 22nd of April. Over 1.03 crore voters including 50.65 lakh women and 256 Third Gender persons will decide the fate of these candidates. Total 14,480 Polling Stations have been set up for this purpose. Ruling AITC and Bharatiya Janata Party are contesting for all the 43 seats. Congress, Left parties and their alliance partner Indian Secular Front are fighting under the banner of Sanyukta Morcha. BSP has fielded 37 candidates, CPI (M) has 23, Congress – 12, AIFB – four and CPI two while there are 82 independents along with 60 others are also in the fray.
The prominent candidates participating in this phase include State Ministers and AITC candidates Ujjal Biswas from Krishnanagar Dakshin, Swapan Debnath from Purbasthali Dakshin and Chandrima Bhattacharya along with CPI (M) leader Tanmoy Bhattacharya from Dumdum Uttar while BJP National Vice President Mukul Roy is contesting from Krishnanagar Uttar and Senior Congress leaders Mohit Sengupta from Raiganj and Abdus Sattar is also in the fray from Baduria. Former AITC Minister Abdul Karim Chowdhary has entered the electoral battle from Islampur, Pundrikaksha Saha from Nabdweep and CPI leader Srikumar Mukherjee from Itahar while AITC leader Jyotipriya Mallick and BJP leader Rahul Sinha are also trying their luck from Habra.
The election campaign has now gained momentum for the Seventh as well as the Eighth and Final Phase of the Assembly Elections with the prominent leaders of different political parties engaging in whirlwind tours for canvassing in favour of their candidates. In all, 36 Assembly Constituencies spread over five districts will go to polls in the Seventh Phase on 26th of April while remaining 35 Assembly Constituencies spread over four districts will go to polls in the Eighth Phase on 29th of April. The counting of votes will be taken up together on 2nd of May.