In the poll-bound West Bengal, the high-decibel electioneering campaign for the Fifth Phase of Assembly Elections reaches crescendo before its conclusion this evening.
The polling process is already over in respect of 135 out of total 294 Assembly seats in the earlier four phases. The state is witnessing eight-phase elections.
During the Fifth Phase of State Assembly Elections, 45 Assembly seats spread over six districts of West Bengal will go to polls on 17th of April.
The Election Commission has decided to increase the Silent Period of the campaign for this phase by 24 hours and as a result, the campaign will end this evening.
This decision was taken after the mob storming and firing incident at Polling Station No. 126 in Sitalkuchi Assembly Constituency in Cooch Behar district during the Fourth Phase of polling on last Saturday.
In all, 319 candidates including 39 women will be vying for the 45 Assembly seats spread over six districts during the Fifth Phase.
Over 1.12 crore voters including 55.80 lakh women and 234 Third Gender persons will decide the fate of these candidates.
Total 15,789 Polling Stations have been set up for this purpose. Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting for all the 45 seats while ruling AITC is contesting 42 seats.
Congress, Left parties and their alliance partner Indian Secular Front are fighting under the banner of Sanyukta Morcha. BSP has fielded 32 candidates, CPI (M) has 25, Congress – 11, AIFB – two, RSP, NPP and CPI one each while there are 83 independents along with 76 others are also in the fray.
The prominent candidates participating in this phase include State Ministers Goutam Deb from Dabgram-Fulbari, Tapas Roy from Baranagar, Bratya Basu from Dumdum and Siddiqullah Chowdhury from Monteswar along with Sujit Bose and former Mayor and BJP candidate Sabyasachi Dutta from Bidhanagar seat.
AITC Chief Whip Nirmal Ghosh from Panihati, Former Ministers Madan Mitra from Kamarhati, Bankim Chandra Ghosh from Chakdaha and Asoke Bhattachrya from Siliguri, Congress leader Sukhbilash Berma from Jalpaiguri, BJP leader Shamik Bhattachrya and singer and AITC candidate Aditi Munshi from Rajarhat-Gopalpur are also in the fray.
Besides, sitting BJP MP Jagannath Sarkar from Shantipur, former MP Dr. Tapas Mondal from Krishnaganj and former CPI (M) MP Alakesh Das from Haringhata along with actor Chiranjeet Chakrobarty from Barasat are also trying their luck.
The election campaign, which is presently on for the simultaneous By-Elections of two Lok Sabha seats including Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh and Belgaum in Karnataka along with 13 Assembly Constituencies spread over ten states, will conclude tomorrow evening.
The ACs going in for the By-Polls include three in Rajasthan, two in Karnataka and one each in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Telangana and Uttarakhand.
There are 161 candidates in the fray for 13 Assembly seats indicating largely multi-cornered contests.
Meanwhile, H. Chuba Chang was declared elected unopposed being the only candidate in fray for the Noksen Assembly seat in Nagaland.
In Andhra Pradesh, there are 28 candidates vying for the Tirupati Lok Sabha Seat. Former Union Minister Dr. Panabaka Lakshmi is the Telugu Desham Party candidate while Chinta Mohan from Congress, K. Ratnaprabha from BJP and Nellore Yadgiri from CPI (M) are among the prominent candidates.
In Karnataka, there are 10 candidates contesting for the Belgaum Lok Sabha seat. BJP has fielded Mangala Angadi, the widow of late Union Minister Suresh Angadi from the seat while Congress has fielded State Working President Satish Jarkiholi against her. Satish Jarkiholi is the sitting MLA from Yamkanmaradi.
As far as the Assembly By-Polls are concerned, 12 candidates are vying in Basavakalyan and eight are contesting in Maski Constituency.
In Madhya Pradesh, there are 22 candidates including 16 independents contesting for Damoh Assembly seat. Ruling BJP has fielded Rahul Singh Lodhi while Congress has put up Ajay Kumar Tandon in the contest.
In Maharashtra, total 19 candidates including 10 independents are in fray for Pandharpur Assembly seat. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has fielded Bhagirath Bhalke, son of its three-term legislator Bharat Bhalke, as its candidate while BJP has fielded Samadhan Autade in the electoral battle which is marked by the presence of representatives of several other political parties as well.
In Odisha, ruling Biju Janata Dal has put up Rudra Pratap Maharathy, son of late MLA Pradeep Maharathy in By-Poll for the Pipili Assembly seat. BJP has fielded Ashrit Pattanayak and Congress has Ajit Mangaraj while there are seven other candidates including three independents.
In Rajasthan, ten candidates are contesting in Rajsamand while nine candidates are in fray for Sujangarh and eight are there in Sahara Assembly Constituency.
In Telangana, maximum 41 candidates are in fray for the Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly seat including three women and 27 independents. Ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi has fielded Nomula Bhagath, son of the late MLA from this constituency while BJP has fielded Dr. Panugothu Ravi and Congress has given ticket to former Minister and seven-time MLA Kunduru Janareddy.
The campaign is gaining momentum in respect of the Sixth Phase with the prominent leaders of different political parties engaging in whirlwind tours for canvassing in favour of their candidates.
In all, 43 Assembly Constituencies spread over four districts of West Bengal will go to polls in this phase on 22nd of April.
The campaign has also picked up for the Seventh as well as the Eighth and Final Phase of the Assembly Elections in West Bengal.
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.
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