West Bengal Assembly polls: Bengali actor Srabanti Chatterjee joins BJP
In the latest defection to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bengali actor Srabanti Chatterjee joined the party ahead of West Bengal Assembly elections. The actor joined the party in the presence of state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh and party's election in-charge in the state, Kailash Vijayvargiya.
Elections to the 294 assembly seats in the state, where the ruling Trinamool Congress is looking to retain power amid a strong challenge from the BJP, will go to the polls in eight phases. Voting will be held on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29 and the votes will be counted on May 2.
The election commission took the decision to spread the polling dates over 8 days considering the law and order situation in the state and in order to adhere to the coronavirus guideline of social distancing, news agency PTI reported.
"After all, the elections to West Bengal in 2016 were in seven phases. The Lok Sabha was in seven phases. So, seven to eight (phases) is not such a big deal because we also have to see the movement of forces, the current charges and counter-charges (by political parties). We have to kind of find a way out. That is why we are sending two expenditure observers to Tamil Nadu and two police observers to West Bengal," chief election commissioner Sunil Arora said.
While chief minister Mamata Banerjee is seeking her third consecutive term, BJP has set a target of winning 200 seats in the 294-member state Assembly. Congress and the Left have made an alliance for the polls and have already finalised the seat-sharing agreement.
With the announcement of the election schedule by the election commission on February 26, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the state.
(with agency inputs)