Lok Sabha election 2019: Key players, issues in West Bengal
If the showdown between West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party – over the CBI questioning of Kolkata police chief and denial of permissions by the state government to BJP rallies – is anything to go by, the Lok Sabha elections 2019 promise to be full of action.
The state, which has witnessed very intense, even violent, elections with confrontations between CPM, Congress earlier and now between Trinamool and BJP, is already in the throes of full-fledged poll campaigns.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have made several visits to the sate and have launched sharp attacks on Mamata Banerjee and her government.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) and infiltration are turning out to be major issues this election: NRC, though being conducted in Assam has became a key issue in Bengal for both BJP and TMC due to the confusion it spread among refugees from Bangladesh settled in West Bengal.
On Infiltration, BJP says Trinamool Congress has encouraged infiltration and turned Bengal into a safe haven for infiltrators:
Here is all you need to know about West Bengal ahead of Lok Sabha polls:
Polling date: April 11, 18, 23, 29, May 6, 12, 19
Ruling party in West Bengal: Trinamool Congres
Number of Lok Sabha seats in the state: 42
Party wise break-up of the Lok Sabha seats: Trinamool Congress 34, Congress 4, CPI(M) 2, BJP 2
Number of voters in the state: 6.55 crore (according to updated list for 2016 Assembly polls). 3.39 crore male, 3.16 crore female.
Voter turnout in 2014: 82.16% in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 83.27% in 2016 Assembly elections
Number of assembly seats: 294
Partywise break-up of assembly seats: Trinamool Congress (212), Congress (43), Left Front (31), BJP (3), GJM (3) and Independent. One seat is vacant following the murder of Satyajit Biswas, Trinamool MLA of Krishnagunj in Nadia districtin Feb.
Key leaders across parties:
Mamata Banerjee, Abhishek Banerjee, Partha Chatterjee, Derek O’Brien, Suvendu Adhikari, Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC)
Dilip Ghosh, Mukul Roy, Rahul Sinha (BJP)
Somen Mitra, Abdul Mannan (Congress)
Suryakanta Mishra, Md Salim, Biman Bose (CPI-M)
Key issues: 4 or five:
NRC: conducted in Assam but has became a key issue in Bengal for both BJP and TMC due to the confusion it spread among refugees from Bangladesh settled in West Bengal.
Infiltration: BJP says Trinamool Congress has encouraged infiltration and turned Bengal into a safe haven for infiltrators
Demonetisation, GST: Mamata is consistently campaigning against both.
Minority rights versus majority rights: While Mamata says she has secured the rights of both communities, the BJP alleges that she has compromised the latter in her zeal to protect the former.
Farmer rights: Mamata claims she has protected their rights throughout her term but the Opposition differs.
Employment: While the BJP, Left and Congress accuse Mamata of failing to generate employment, TMC claims to have generated employments for lakhs by promoting and marketing handicrafts, small scale and cottage industries, villages-based industries and self-help groups