Campaigning ends for Bengal polls fourth phase

Kolkata, April 23 (IANS) Campaigning came to an end on Saturday for the fourth phase of the West Bengal assembly elections involving 49 seats in two districts where balloting will take place on April 25.

With rallies, road shows, street corner meetings and last minute door-to-door contact with voters, canvassing reached a high level over the past couple of days, before coming to an end at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Thirty three of the constituencies are in North 24 Parganas, and 16 in Howrah.

Over 1.08 crore (1,08,16,942) voters across 12,481 polling stations, including 27 auxiliary booths, are eligible to decide the fate of 345 candidates — 40 of them female. The Election Commission will use 14,353 EVMs and 680 VVPATs.

In this phase, Howrah Dakshin in Howrah district is the largest constituency electorate-wise, and Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district the biggest in terms of area. Bhatpara constituency in the same district has the least number of electors.

Star campaigners who hit the canvassing trail for this phase included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury and the party’s state secretary Surjyakanta Mishra.

Among the major candidates are state ministers and Trinamool contestants Amit Mitra, Arup Roy, Upendranath Biswas, Jyotipriyo Mallick, CPI-M nominees (former state minister) Asim Dasgupta, Nepaldeb Bhattacharya, Tanmoy Bhattacharya, Congress leader Arunava Ghosh and the BJP’s R.K. Handa and Shamik Bhattacharya.

Saradha-scam accused Madam Mitra, now in custody, is also in the fray from Kamarhati constiteuncy on a Trinamool ticket.

Former India footballer Dipendu Biswas, retired international cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla and late Board of Control for Cricket India president Jagmohan Dalmiya’s daughter Baishali Dalmiya are also contesting the election on Trinamool tickets.

Of the 345 candidates in the fray, 45 are crorepatis while the average assets of the candidates are Rs.50.02 lakh.

In addition, 48 have criminal cases against them and 48 declared serious criminal offences like murder and rape against their name.

–IANS

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