High-stake 'Khela' in Bengal: Top leaders, celebrities in phase-four battleground
In Phase-IV, 44 constituencies from the districts of Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Howrah, Hooghly and South 24 Parganas are going to polls.
KOLKATA: From heavyweight leaders to celebrities, stakes are high in the fourth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections that will be held on Saturday.
In Phase-IV, 44 constituencies from the districts of Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Howrah, Hooghly and South 24 Parganas are going to polls. A total of 1,15,81,022 electorates will decide the fate of 373 candidates in this phase.
Among the most high-profile contests, one is the Tollygunge constituency, where BJP has fielded Union Minister Babul Supriyo against sitting TMC MLA Aroop Biswas. Biswas, also a minister in the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal cabinet has been representing the Tollygunge Assembly constituency for the last three terms. Worth mentioning, Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan campaigned for TMC candidate Aroop Biswas. CPI(M) has fielded Debdut Ghosh from the seat.
In Behala Paschim, it is Chatterjee versus Chatterjee. The constituency has been represented by state education minister Partha Chatterjee for 20 years. Now, to challenge Partha to enter into his fifth term, BJP has fielded actor Srabanti Chatterjee from the Behala Paschim Assembly constituency. The torchbearer of the Samyukta Morcha from this seat is CPI(M)'s Nihar Bhakta.
On the other hand, Behala Purba has been hitting the headlines as TMC fielded Ratna Chatterjee, the estranged wife of the sitting MLA and former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee. Sovan Chatterjee was with the TMC before joining the BJP. Notably, Sovan left BJP after he was denied the ticket from the Behala Purba this time. According to BJP, the party did not want to create controversy by fielding Sovan against his wife and had offered him the ticket from Behala Paschim. Sovan Chatterjee was also unhappy as the BJP did not give a ticket to his friend Baisakhi Banerjee. BJP has fielded actor Srabanti Chatterjee from Behala Purba.
The Sonarpur Dakshin constituency will witness a contest between popular television personalities. Here, TMC's Lovely Moitra will take on BJP's Anjana Basu. Moitra and Basu both are well-known faces in Bengali soap operas. However, Shuvam Banerjee is the CPI candidate from the seat.
In the Jadavpur constituency, TMC's Moloy Majumder is taking on sitting CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakraborty and BJP's Rinku Naskar.
In the Dinhata constituency, BJP has fielded party MP Nisith Pramanik against TMC MLA Udayan Guha and Forward Bloc's Abdul Rauf. In the Alipurduar constituency, there is a contest among TMC's Sourav Chakraborty, BJP's Suman Kanjilal and Congress' Debprosad Roy.
BJP has fielded Prabir Ghosal in Uttarpara constituency against CPI(M)'s Rajat Banerjee. Actor Kanchan Mullick is TMC's candidate from the seat.
The Singur Constituency in Hooghly district is all set to witness an interesting battle between TMC's Becharam Manna and BJP's Rabindranath Bhattacharjee. The sitting MLA from Singur, Bhattacharjee was previously with TMC. As the party denied a ticket to the octogenarian leader this time, he joined the BJP. Srijan Bhattacharya is the CPI(M) candidate from the seat.
In the Chunchura Assembly constituency, BJP MP Locket Chatterjee is standing against TMC's Asit Mazumdar and Forward Bloc's Pranab Ghosh.
CPI(M) heavyweight Mohammed Salim is contesting from the Chanditala constituency. BJP has fielded actor Yash Dasgupta against Salim. Swati Khandoker is the TMC candidate from Chanditala.
Abdul Mannan, the Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly is contesting from the Champdani constituency. BJP has fielded Dilip Singh against the veteran Congress leader.
In Howrah's Domjur, BJP leader Rajib Banerjee is taking on TMC candidate Kalyan Ghosh and CPI(M) candidate Uttam Bera. Rajib, a former minister in the TMC government joined the BJP ahead of the West Bengal Assembly polls.
In Shibpur Constituency, cricketer Manoj Tiwary is the TMC candidate against BJP's Rathindranath Chakraborty and Forward Bloc's Jagannath Bhattacharya. The CPI(M) has fielded Dipsita Dhar from the Bally Assembly constituency. Dhar, the joint secretary of the Students' Federation of India is pursuing PhD in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Dr Rana Chatterjee and Baishali Dalmiya are the TMC and BJP candidates from the Bally constituency.
In the fourth phase, the majority of the constituencies fall under urban and semi-urban categories. Among the 44 constituencies, nine are in Howrah, 10 in Hooghly, 11 in South 24 Parganas, five in Alipurduar and nine in Cooch Behar.
When it comes to the constituencies in Howrah and Hooghly, there will be tough combat between TMC and BJP. When TMC is reckoned on the development works, BJP is counting on the non-Bengali voters in the industrial belt.
Since there has been visible development in these areas, the major concern among voters is the lack of employment opportunities. The closure of jute mills and an air of anti-incumbency haunt the ruling TMC. On the other hand, the after-effects of lockdown and rising fuel prices are troubling the BJP.
In the districts of Cooch Behar and Alipurduar, the BJP has established a stronghold, especially after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the party won the two constituencies. Meanwhile, in South 24 Parganas, TMC has an edge over other parties.
While the BJP is targeting TMC over the issues of corruption in Amphan relief fund, 'syndicate raj' and appeasement politics, TMC is banking on its welfare schemes like 'Duare Sarkar', 'Swastho Sathi' and 'Kanyashree' to counter the anti-incumbency wave. The CPI(M) is in the attempt to regain its old legacy that started fading away a decade back.
The first three phases of the eight-phased West Bengal polls have already taken place. The fourth phase of the elections will be held on Saturday. Counting of the votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)