The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and ruling All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, are spearheading an intense election campaign in West Bengal. The third alliance that is in the fray is led by Indian National Congress (INC). The INC has signed an electoral pact with the Left in the eastern state.
Several opinion polls have predicted a tight contest between the BJP and AITC. In the previous assembly election held in 2016, the BJP had won just three seats while the AITC pocketed 211. The INC won 44 seats and the CPI(M) settled with 26 seats.
The AITC headed by two-time Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is striving hard to score a hat-trick. The BJP is leaving no stone unturned to make sure lotus blooms in the state. The third front has the CPI(M) and INC entering into a seat-sharing arrangement, and this combine is also trying to align with the ISF.
This time, polling will take place in eight phases with the first one scheduled for 27 March, covering 30 seats.
Key candidates in the Phase 1 of Bengal Polls 2021
Purulia: Sujoy Banerjee (AITC) vs Sudip Mukherjee (BJP) vs Partha Prathim Banerjee (Congress)
Medinipur: June Malia (AITC) vs Shamit Dash (BJP) vs Tarun Kumar Ghosh (CPIM)
Kharagpur: Dinen Ray (AITC) vs Tapan Bhuiya (BJP) vs Sk. Saddam Ali (CPIM)
Kanthi Uttar: Tarun Kumar Jana (AITC) vs Sunita Singha (BJP) vs Sutanu Maity (CPIM)
Kanthi Dakshin: Jyotirmoy Kar (AITC) vs Arup Kumar Das (BJP) vs Anulup Panda (CPIM)
Baghmundi: Sushanta Mahato (AITC) vs Ashutosh Mahato (AJSU) vs Nepal Mahata (Congress)
There are a total of 294 assembly seats that will be going to polls, of which 68 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 16 for the Scheduled Tribes. In the eight-phase Assembly polls, the voting is likely to start at 8 AM and end at 6 PM.
The West Bengal Legistive Assembly comprises 294 seats and the halfway mark is 174. Polling in the remaining seven phases will take place on 1 April, 6 April, 10 April, 17 April, 22 April, 26 April and 29 April. Results will be declared on 2 May.