Bengal Poll: Campaigning For Final Phase Ends

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Kolkata: Campaigning for the sixth and last phase of West Bengal Assembly election covering 25 constituencies in East Midnapore and Cooch Behar districts ended on Tuesday.

In all, 170 candidates, including 18 women, are in fray trying to woo over 58 lakh voters. For the first time since Independence, residents of border enclaves in Cooch Behar district will be able to exercise their franchise, thanks to the formal inclusion of the enclaves in the Indian Territory last year.

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There are 9,776 voters in the enclave. Altogether 6,774 polling stations have been set up where voting will be held from 7 AM to 6 PM. All eyes will be on Nandigram in East Midnapore district where a violent anti-land acquisition movement had helped uproot the 34-year-long Left Front government.

Trinamool Congress, which had won all 16 seats in East Midnapore district in 2011, has now fielded its Tamluk MP Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram.

He is pitted against CPI’s Abdul Kabir Sheikh, supported by the Congress and Left parties. State environment minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar is another heavyweight in the fray. He is seeking to defend his Mahisadal seat.

Former Trinamool minister Hiten Barman is trying his luck once again from Sitalkuchi seat. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who attended election rallies in Cooch Behar, attacked both Trinamool and Left parties saying there was no difference between the two.

Singh had alleged the TMC came to power five years ago with a promise of ‘parivartan’, but West Bengal saw no change as law and order situation continues to be poor.

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, who campaigned extensively in the two districts, had alleged that a section of police officials had “unleashed terror” on people at the behest of the Election Commission.

She even warned them of “consequences” if she is voted to power again. The poll panel has already taken a note of her statement made at a rally in Chandipur and is examining the contents of her speech.

State Congress chief Adhir Choudhury said the state needed another ‘privartan’ (change) as “nothing happened except making false claims, tall talks on cinema and stage plays” in the last five years.

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