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Third phase campaigning ends

Altogether 77 seats would go to polls on Thursday to decide the fate of political bigwigs, including the West Bengal CM.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2006 21:49 IST

The campaigning for the third phase of assembly elections in West Bengal, which reached a crescendo in the last two days with political heavyweights turning out to canvass support, ended on Tuesday evening.

Altogether 77 constituencies in Kolkata and adjoining North and South 24 Parganas districts would go to polls in the third phase on Thursday to decide the fate of a number of political bigwigs, including Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Unlike the first two phases, the campaign, which had initially remained low-key, reached a peak with a number of top leaders, including former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, addressing meetings in the last few days.

Other high-profile campaigners included Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, BJP President Rajnath Singh, CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat, Railway minister Lalu Prasad, and Steel minister Ramvilas Paswan.

Political parties also requisitioned the service of cine actress Jaya Bachchan, Smriti Irani and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu seeking to win over voters.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee led the Left Front campaign while Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee was the star campaigner for her party.

CPI(M) veteran Jyoti Basu, even at the age of 92, also campaigned for party candidates.