Campaigning ends for final phase of Bengal polls

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Kolkata, May 3 (IANS) Campaigning ended on Tuesday for the sixth and final phase of the West Bengal assembly elections involving 25 seats in two districts where balloting will take place on May 5.

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

Among the constituencies in this phase, 16 are in Purbo Medinipur and 9 in North Bengal’s Coochbehar district.

Over 58 lakh (58,04,019) voters across 6,774 polling stations, including 9 auxiliary booths, are eligible to decide the fate of 170 candidates — 18 of them female. The Election Commission will use 7,790 EVMs and 621 VVPATs.

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Dinhata in Coochbehar district is the largest constituency electorate-wise, and Sitalkuchi in the same district the biggest in terms of area. Mekliganj constituency of Cooch Behar has the least number of electors.

Star campaigners who hit the canvassing trail for this phase included union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra.

Trinamool’s heavywight leader and MP Suvendu Adhikari, who is contesting from Nandigram in East Midnapore, was purportedly seen in the Narada News sting operation taking wads of currency notes in return for favours to a fictitious company.

Among major candidates are Trinamool nominee Phiroja Bibi, BJP’s Dadhiram Ray and the Congress’s Hemangshu Sekhar Mahapatra.

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Of the 170 candidates in the fray, 33 have criminal cases pending against them. As many as 15 candidates are crorepatis.

Twenty seven of these 33 candidates face serious charges including murder and rape.



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