Matua bastions in fray for 6th phase of West Bengal assembly elections
The sixth phase of the West Bengal Assembly Election 2021 will be held on Thursday, April 22, across 43 constituencies spread over four districts. The polling for phases 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the state elections took place on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, and April 17, respectively.
As many as 306 candidates, including 27 women, are in the fray in this phase of the West Bengal assembly elections. Over 1.03 crore voters. including 50.65 lakh women and 256 of the third gender, will be deciding the fate of these candidates across 14,480 polling stations in the sixth phase.
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Development and unemployment dominate the core issues. However, the districts of North 24 Parganas and Purba Bardhaman have experienced a bit of development as compared to the other districts, ANI reported. But, the lack of employment opportunities still haunts the ruling government. Adding to its worries is the BJP's campaign targeting the incumbent TMC over 'tolabaazi' (extortion), 'cut money', 'syndicate raj' and 'appeasement politics. The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC is, however, banking upon its welfare schemes like "Duare Sarkar', 'Swastho Sathi' and 'Kanyashree'.
The last two remaining phases of the West Bengal assembly elections will be conducted on April 26 and April 29. Votes will be counted on May 2.
43 assembly constituencies in 4 districts
In Phase 6 of the West Bengal assembly elections, 43 seats across four districts -- Uttar Dinajpur, Nadia, North 24 Parganas, and Purba Bardhaman -- go into polls. These are further divided as follows:
9 seats in Uttar Dinajpur -- Chopra, Islampur, Goalpokhar, Chakulia, Karandighi, Hemtabad, Kaliaganj, Raiganj, and Itahar.
9 seat in Nadia -- Karimpur, Tehatta, Palashipara, Kaliganj, Nakashipara, Chapra, Krishnanagar Uttar, Nabadwip, and Krishnanagar Dakshin.
17 seats in North 24 Parganas -- Bagda, Bongaon Uttar, Bongaon Dakshin, Gaighata, Swarupnagar, Baduria, Habra, Ashokenagar, Amdanga, Bijpur, Naihati, Bhatpara, Jagatdal, Noapara, Barrackpore, Khardaha, and Dum Dum Uttar.
8 seats in Purba Bardhaman -- Bhatar, Purbasthali Dakshin, Purbasthali Uttar, Katwa, Ketugram, Mangalkot, Ausgram, and Galsi.
The TMC and the BJP are contesting all the 43 assembly seats in Phase 6 of the West Bengal polls.
From the Sanyukta Morcha, the CPI-M is contesting 21 seats -- Chopra, Hemtabad, Karimpur, Tehatta, Palashipara, Nakashipura, Nabadwip, Krishnanagar Dakshin, Bongaon Dakshin, Swarupnagar, Habra, Bijpur, Naihati, Barrackpur, Khardaha, Dum Dum Uttar, Bhatar, Purbasthali Uttar, Ketugram, Mangolkot, and Ausgram.
Congress is contesting 11 seats -- Islampur, Goalpokhar, Kaliaganj, Raiganj, Kaliganj, Krishnanagar Uttar, Bagda, Baduria, Noapara, Purbasthali Dakshin, and Katwa.
Siddiqui's Indian Secular Front (ISF) will be contesting two seats -- Chapra and Amdanga.
Forward Bloc (FB) is contesting four seats -- Chakulia, Karandighi, Jagatdal, and Galsi.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) is contesting one seat -- Gaighata.
The Sanyukta Morcha has not fielded any candidates in four seats -- Itahar, Bongaon Uttar, Ashoknagar, and Bhatpara.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is also trying its luck and has fielded 37 candidates.
Assembly seats in the Matua strongholds of Bongaon and Krishnanagar, close to the India-Bangladesh border, set to go to polls on Thursday, have emerged as an important area for poll observers with citizenship for refugees being a key poll plank for the BJP in the run-up to the elections. Matua bastions and the verdict they present this election will prove to be a test case for the party that had been weighing the pros and cons before implementing the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) enacted for the purpose. Two other aspects -- identity politics and regional development -- have also surfaced as decisive factors this election.
A few of the notable candidates this time are as follows:
1. Constituency: Krishnanagar Uttar (Nadia district)
Candidate: Mukul Roy (BJP)
Arguably the most high-profile candidate in this phase is BJP national vice president Mukul Roy, former railway minister and Rajya Sabha MP. Once a close aide of TMC supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Roy had a fall-out with the party after his name came up in the Saradha Ponzi scam as well as in the Narada sting operation. Following the veteran leader's suspension from the TMC for six years, Mukul Roy joined the BJP and is believed to have played a key role in expanding the BJP's core organisational affairs in the state. Mukul Roy will be facing off against TMC candidate Kaushani Mukherjee at the Krishnanagar Uttar constituency.
2. Constituency: Dum Dum Uttar (North 24 Parganas district)
Candidate: Tanmoy Bhattacharya (CPI-M)
CPI-M leader Tanmoy Bhattacharya made the headlines in 2016, when he defeated TMC heavyweight Chandrima Bhattacharya from the Dum Dum Uttar constituency in a close contest between the two candidates. Tanmoy upstaged his political rival by a margin of just 6,549 votes. 91.1% of the total votes were cast on the top two candidates. CPI(M)'s Tanmoy Bhattacharya got a total of 91,959 votes, while Trinamool's Chandrima Bhattacharya got 85,410 votes. This time, Tanmoy will once again be facing off against Chandrima, a senior TMC leader and state minister, who is looking to win back the seat that she had secured in 2011.
3. Constituency: Habra (North 24 Parganas district)
Candidate: Jyotipriyo Mallick (TMC)
Jyotipriyo Mullick, the food and supplies minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet in the West Bengal government, is a veteran leader of the Trinamool Congress. In 2016, it was a one-way contest with TMC's Jyotipriyo Mullick upstaging his rival, the CPI(M)'s Ashis Kantha Mukherjee by a huge margin of 45,947 votes.
Past polling trends
Ahead of Phase 6 of the West Bengal Assembly Election 2021, here are the results of the past polls in these 43 assembly seats.
Of the 43 seats going to polls on Thursday, the TMC won 33 in the 2016 assembly elections—four in Uttar Dinajpur, eight in Nadia, 14 in North 24 Parganas, and seven in Purba Bardhaman. The Left Front and Congress alliance secured 10 seats—five in Uttar Dinajpur, one in Nadia, three in North 24 Parganas and one in Purba Bardhaman.
In the 2011 state assembly elections, TMC won 28 of these seats—two in Uttar Dinajpur, six in Nadia, 16 in North 24 Parganas and four seats in Purba Bardhaman. The Left Front secured nine seats -- three each in Uttar Dinajpur, Nadia, and Purba Bardhaman, respectively. Congress won five seats -- three in Uttar Dinajpur, and one each in North 24 Parganas and Purba Bardhaman. An independent candidate won the Chopra seat.