By Joymala Bagchi As the third phase of the high-stakes West Bengal Assembly elections is set to commence on Tuesday, a total of 832 companies of central security forces have been deployed in the constituencies to ensure a peaceful election.
Out of these, 214 companies of Quick Response Teams (QRTs) will be present in the third phase. The voting in this phase of elections will be held in 31 Assembly constituencies in three districts – eight in Hooghly, seven in Howrah and 16 in South 24 Parganas.
There are 205 candidates in the fray in this round of polling, with Diamond Harbour having the maximum number of candidates at 11. However, when it comes to women representation, there are only 13 women candidates contesting in this phase, merely six per cent.
A total of 307 companies have been deployed in the South 24 Parganas, while 167 companies have been deployed in the rural areas of the Hooghly district police department. Furthermore, 144 companies have been deployed in the Howrah district. In the South 24 Parganas district, which is one of the main battleground districts in the elections, 130 companies have been deployed in Baruipur Police District, 113 companies have been deployed in Diamond Harbour and the Sunderban Police District houses 64 companies.
A total of 78,52,425 electors will take part in the third phase of the polls. Of these, 2,30,055 people will be voting for the first time. A total of 1,26,148 voters fall in the age group of above 80 years. The Kulpi constituency has the lowest electorate count with 2,20,600 while Jagatballavpur has the highest number of electorates at 2,88,099.
Out of the total number of electorates, 39,93,280 are men, 38,58,902 are women and 243 are of other genders. There are 8,840 polling stations and 2,391 auxiliary polling stations throughout the 31 constituencies. There are 10,871 Control Units, VVPATs and Ballot Units individually.
Among the most high-profile candidates, it is BJP’s Swapan Dasgupta contesting from the Tarakeswar constituency in Hooghly. Dasgupta, a noted journalist and a Padma Bhushan awardee has been a Rajya Sabha member who resigned recently to contest the West Bengal Assembly polls. In the Arambagh constituency, TMC has fielded Sujata Mondal Khan against CPI(M)’s Sakti Mohan Malik and BJP’s Madhusudhan Bag. The interesting fact is Sujata Mondal Khan is the wife of BJP MP Saumitra Khan.
Diamond Harbour is the parliamentary constituency of TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. In the 2016 Assembly elections, TMC had bagged 29 seats and the Left Front won two seats out of these 31 seats, which will be going to polls in the third phase on Tuesday. Talking about vote share in the last Assembly election, TMC had secured 50 per cent, the Left Front had 37 per cent and the BJP got 7 per cent.
Polling for the first two phases of the West Bengal elections were held on March 27 and April 1 respectively. The fourth phase of polling will take place on April 10. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)