Campaigning ends for third phase of Bengal polls

Kolkata, April 19 (IANS) Campaigning ended on Tuesday for the third phase of the West Bengal assembly elections, involving 62 seats in four districts where balloting will take place on April 21.

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

A total of 22 constituencies are going to the polls in Murshidabad, 17 in Nadia, seven in Kolkata (North) and 16 in Burdwan districts.

Over 1.37 crore (1,37,42,000) voters across 16,461 polling stations, including 10 auxiliary booths, are eligible to decide the fate of 418 candidates — 34 of them female.

In this phase, Ranaghat South in Nadia is the largest constituency electorate-wise, and Ausgram in Burdwan district the biggest in terms of area. Shyampukar constituency in Kolkata (North) has the least number of electors.

Political big shots like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, union home minister Rajnath Singh, union water resources minister Uma Bharti, CPI-M state secretary Surjyakanta Mishra, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were among those who hit the campaign trail.

Among the major candidates in this phase are state ministers and Trinamool contestants Sashi Panja, Sadhan Pandey, Subrata Saha, former state minister and CPI-M candidates Anisur Rahaman and Debesh Das, Congress legislature party leader Md. Sohrab and former state party presdient Somendranath Mitra and Ritesh Tiwari from the BJP.

Of the 418 candidates in the fray, 61 are crorepatis, 80 have criminal cases against them, with 65 of them declaring serious criminal offences like murder and rape against their name.

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