Campaigning for the sixth and final phase of West Bengal assembly elections for 14 seats in the Maoist-affected Jangalmahal, spread over West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, has come to an end.
An estimated 26,57,436 voters will decide the fate of 97 candidates on May 10. Of the constituencies going to polls, West Midnapore district has seven seats, followed by four in Purulia and three in Bankura.
Prominent candidates in this phase are CPI(M)’s Susanta Ghosh, the controversial minister in Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government, contesting from Garbeta, and his main rival Hema Chowbey of the Congress whose election rally was addressed by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.
Jailed PCAPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato, who floated an unrecognised political party called Durniti Santras O Samrajyabad Birodhi Ganatantrik Mancha, is contesting as an independent candidate from Jhargram.
Mahato was denied permission by the jail authorities to campaign in person, but an election rally organised in his support at Jhargram yesterday witnessed a good turnout. Union Home Minister Chidambaram, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee campaigned for their candidates.
While Bhattacharjee urged the electorate to defeat Trinamool, alleging that its victory would help the Maoists to resurface, Banerjee stressed on the Left Front Government’s indifference to the plight of the people of Jangalmahal. Mukherjee in one of his rallies called upon the Maoists to shun violence and sit for talks to settle their demands. Seven women candidates are in fray.