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7th phase polls starts, PM urges Bengal to vote, follow Covid guidelines

Health7th phase polls starts, PM urges Bengal to vote, follow Covid guidelines

In West Bengal, polling began at 7 am for 34 seats in the seventh phase of the state assembly elections amid central security forces and a ravaging second wave of COVID-19 with the newly detected dangerous triple mutant B1. 617 found also in Bengal.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges Bengal to vote, following COVID safety guidelines tweeting, “Urging people to exercise their franchise and follow all COVID-19 related protocols.”

EC deploys 796 companies of central forces during the 7th phase West Bengal election phase 7 voting after Sitalkuchi violence, with a total of 86,78,221 voters — 44,44,634 male and 42,33,358 women and 229 from the third gender who are eligible to exercise their franchise.

A 17.95% voting was recorded till 9.45 am.

Bhabanipur is one of the four seats from Kolkata that will be voting in phase seven. There are six seats from Dakshin Dinajpur district, six from Malda, eleven from Murshidabad, and nine seats from Pashchim Bardhaman district, that are up for polls in the seventh phase of West Bengal Assembly elections.

Mamata Banerjee decided on Bhabanipur to enter the West Bengal assembly, but she is no longer a candidate from Bhabanipur after she decided to contest from Nandigram.

When the Left Front government crashed in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was at that time an MP, chose Bhabanipur to enter the West Bengal assembly and won with a huge margin of  54,000 votes in the 2011 by-election. Once again, she won in the 2016 assembly elections, but with a reduced margin.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP candidate had managed to get 185 more votes in the same assembly segment than the Trinamool Congress. Also in the Lok Sabha elections five years later, the BJP’s vote share at 43 percent in the assembly segment was barely marginally lower than the TMC’s indicating a rise of the saffron party.

While Mamata Banerjee is no longer a candidate from Bhabanipur after she decided to contest from Nandigram, political analysts say there is a remarkable population of non-Bengalis in Bhabanipur who used to root for Mamata Banerjee but have swerved towards the BJP in recent years. The outcome of this election will reveal if their preferences have changed.

Murshidabad, presently, also all eyes are on Murshidabad, a Muslim-majority constituency, and the Muslim voters will also be a deciding factor in the seventh polls.  In the past, Congress has been getting a large chunk of minority votes in Murshidabad and neighbouring Malda. In this election, Congress in alliance with the Left Front is anticipated to build its stronghold in its already well-established constituency.

It all depends on the split in minority votes which would ultimately decide the outcome.

Kolkata Port has been a constituency where the TMC has been powerful in the past and is excepted to go in favor of Didi (Mamata Banerjee).

Asansol Uttar had become a BJP stronghold picking up nearly 20,000 more votes than the TMC in the assembly segment in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.  This region has a great number of non-Bengali voters and the TMC is a little headless in leadership in this area.

The outcome of the West Bengal elections will be a very defining factor for the direction of India.

It is also a matter of concern that the elections are held in the midst of the raging pandemic with the triple mutant recently detected also in West Bengal.   The same triple mutant B1. 617 has been detected in Maharashtra, Delhi, and West Bengal.



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