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All you need to know about the West Bengal elections

Somi Das | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 6:01 IST

West Bengal goes to polls on 4 April. The Election Commission has split the elections across 294 Assembly constituencies into six phases, with the first phase divided in two parts.

Phase 1

The first phase will see Paschim Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia and Burdwan going to polls. Some forested areas of this region, known as Jungalmahal, was a stronghold of the Maoists. However, the Mamata Banerjee government claims that the region is now free of 'red' terror and the economically backward area is "smiling" because of the government's schemes.

As it is a huge expanse of land and keeping in mind security concerns, the Election Commission has divided the first phase of elections into two parts.

Some of the key candidates from this region are:

1. Dilip Ghosh, BJP state president, will fight it out with 10-time MLA from Kharagpur, Sadar Gyan Singh Sohanpal of the Congress. TMC has fielded Ramaprasad Tewari from the constituency.

2. Tollywood star Soham Chakraborty is making his electoral debut from Barjora, Bankura, on a TMC ticket. He will contest against CPI(M)'s Sujit Chakraborty and BJP's Sujit Agasti.

Soham_West Bengal polls

Photo: Tollywood star, Soham Chakraborty, TMC's candidate from Barjora, Bankura

Phase 1
Phase 1 b

Photo: Election Commission Website

Phase 2

The second phase of the elections will begin on 17 April, with Jalpaiguri, Dakhin Dinajpur, Uttar Dinajpur, Malda and Darjeeling going to polls.

Key clashes:

1.Footballer Bhaichung Bhutia will contest on a TMC ticket from Siliguri against Dr Geeta Chatterjee and CPI(M)'s Ashok Bhattacharya.

Baichung Bhutia_PTI

Footballer and TMC's Siliguri Candidate Baichung Bhutia. Photo: PTI

Bhutia had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Darjeeling where he lost to BJP's SS Ahluwalia by 196,795 votes.

The BJP has left three seats, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong, for its ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. Interestingly, even the Left has not fielded any candidate from these areas due to their support for GJM. BJP has dismissed the Left's move as "attention seeking", saying the party has no relevance in the hill area.

2. Tollywood actress Locket Chatterjee will contest on a BJP ticket from Mayureshwar. She will lock horns with TMC's Avijit roy and CPI(M)'s Arup Bag.


Photo: Tollywood actor and BJP candidate from Mayureshwar, Locket Chatterjee

Phase 2

Photo: Election Commission Website

Phase 3

Murshidabad, Burdwan, Kolkata North and Nadia go to polls on 21 April.

Key clashes:

1. Veteran Congress leader Somen Mitra will fight it out with sitting MLA of Chowringhee and TMC leader Nayana Bandopadhyay in Chowringhee. Mitra had a brief stint in TMC as did his wife Sikha Mitra, who won the Chowringhee seat in 2011. She defected to the Congress in 2014.

2. TMC's Smita Bakshi and sitting MLA of Jarasanko will be up against former BJP state president Rahul Sinha.

phase 3

Phase 4

North 24 Paragana and Howrah go to polls in the fourth phase on 25 April.

Key clashes:

1. Kamarhati, North 24 Paragana, will see an interesting clash between former TMC minister and scam-tainted leader Madan Mitra and BJP's state spokesperson and media in-charge, Krishanu Mitra. The Sharada chit fund scam accused will be contesting elections from behind bars.

Madan Mitra PTI

TMC's scam tainted leader Madan Mitra will contest election from behind bars. Photo: PTI

2. BJP has fielded its state Mahila Morcha chief Roopa Ganguly from Howrah North. She is pitted against another celebrity candidate and former footballer Laxmi Ratan Shukla from TMC.

3. The daughter of cricket administrator Vaishali Dalmiya will contest on a TMC ticket from Bally constituency. She is locked in a traigular fight with CPI(M)'s Anjan Bera and BJP's Kaushik Chakborty.

4. From Basirhat Dakhin, TMC's Dipendu Biswas will fight it out with BJP's Tarfan Ali Gazzi. Biswas, former soccer captain was trounced by a narrow margin in the Basirhat Dakshin bypolls in 2014. BJP had made history by winning an Assembly seat in West Bengal then. The seat gave BJP its only MLA in the state in 15 years - Samik Bhattacharya.

phase 4

Photo: Election Commission Website

Phase 5

South 24 Paragana, South Kolkata and Hoogly go to polls on 30 April. The fifth phase will see some of the most interesting and heavyweight clashes:

1. The triangular contest between Chief Minister Mamata, Congress' Deepa Dasmunshi and BJP's Chandra Bose is one to watch out for. While most political pundits say that Dasmunshi and Chandra Bose have a difficult task cut out for them as defeating Banerjee, who is contesting for a second run as CM, is next to impossible.

Banerjee had chosen Bhabanipur as her constituency after becoming the chief minister in 2011. TMC leader Subrata Bakshi vacated the seat for her. She won the by-polls with a huge margin, winning close to 78 per cent of the vote share.

However, BJP did pull off a good show in Kolkata South in 2014, coming second to TMC. 295126 votes were polled in favour of BJP candidate Tathagata Roy, currently the Governor of Tripura.

2. CPI(Marxist)'s Sujan Chakraborty will fight it out with TMC's Manish Gupta from Jadavpur. Chakraborty had won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the constituency.

3. The hot-bed of land rights movement against Tata Nano factory in Singur had played a huge role in helping Mamata Banerjee overthrow the over three-decade rule in West Bengal. From this seat, sitting MLA and TMC minister Rabindranath Bhattacharjee is up against CPI(M)'s Rabin Deb and BJP's Suren Patra.

4. Partha Chatterjee has won the Behala Paschim constituency seat since 2001 and hopes to win this year as well. His opponent is CPI(M)'s Kaustav Chaterjee.

5. Seventy-year-old Abdur Razza Molla will contest from Bhangarh, South 24 Paragana on a TMC ticket. A recent import from CPI(M), he was expelled from his former party in 2014 for anti-party activities. He has been the undisputed king of Canning Purba from the same district between 1977-2011. His opponents are the Left Front's Rashid Gaji and BJP's Abani Kumar Mandol.

6. Popular Tollywood actress Debashri Roy is TMC's star candidate from Raidighi. This will be her second consecutive electoral battle against former CPI(M) minister Kanti Ganguly, whom she defeated from the same seat in 2011.

phase 5

Photo: Election Commission Website

Phase 6

The West Bengal elections end on 5 May. This is an interesting phase because for the first time, 51 Bangladeshi enclaves, which had been embedded in Cooch Behar district after merging with India, will vote this year.

phase 6

Photo: Election Commission Website

2011 tally:

All India Trinamool Congress (AITM): 184

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GOJAM): 3

BJP: 0

Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM): 40

Indian National Congress: 42

Source: http://www.elections.in/west-bengal/assembly-constituencies/2011-election-results.html

2014 Lok Sabha tally

Total number of Lok Sabha constituency: 42

TMC: 34

BJP: 2

CPI(M)+: 2

Congress + : 4

Results will be announced on May 19.

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First published: 23 March 2016, 3:14 IST
Somi Das @Somi_Das

Somi brings with her the diverse experience of working in a hard news environment with ample exposure to long-form journalism to Catch. She has worked with Yahoo! News, India Legal and Newslaundry. As the Assistant Editor of Catch Live, she intends to bring quality, speed and accuracy to the table. She has a PGD in Print and TV journalism from YMCA, New Delhi, and is a lifelong student of Political Science.