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Crucial rural Bengal areas in Tuesday's fourth phase polls

Monday May 02, 2011 08:18:23 PM, IANS

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Kolkata: Crucial rural areas like Singur, Nandigram and other Marxist bastions where winds of change have been blowing for a while will go to polls Tuesday as West Bengal's assembly elections enter the fourth phase.

An electorate of around 1.26 crore is to choose its representatives in 63 constituencies.

The voting will cover three districts - Howrah, Hooghly and East Midnapore - and parts of Burdwan.

Hooghly has 18 seats, Howrah and East Midnapore 16 each while Burdwan has 13 seats.

There are 15,711 polling booths out of which 5,000 have been declared super sensitive.

In the first three phases, polling has been conducted in 179 of the 294 assembly seats covering 12 districts.

Hooghly district with 18 assembly seats has been a Left bastion for the last three decades. In 2006, most of the seats here were won by the Left Front.

But the political equation changed in the 2009 general election when the Trinamool Congress made considerable inroads.

The district includes Singur, which saw violent protests by the Trinmool-led opposition between 2006 and 2008 against land acquired by the state government for Tata Motors' Nano small car project. The company later shifted the plant to Gujarat.

The East Midnapore district with 16 assembly seats has also been a Left Front citadel for the last three decades.

However, the government's bid to set up a chemical hub in Nandigram triggered violence as the Trinamool led a peasants agitation which turned violent and left 14 people dead in police firing.

The district swung the Trinamool way in the 2008 rural body polls and the opposition won both Lok Sabha seats the next year.

Howrah (16 seats) has also been tilted towards the Left over the last three decades. But in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the Trinamool won its two Lok Sabha seats there.

Of the 25 assembly seats in Burdwan, 13 will go to the polls Tuesday.

Following land reforms initiated by the Left Front government, the entire Burdwan district has been a pocket-borough of the ruling coalition major, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), for years.

The district is also known as the rice bowl of the state.

Till 2009, the Left remained unchallenged here, but the Trinamool made dents in their prospects in last year's civic polls.

As many as 366 candidates, including state Industries Minister Nirupam Sen, Agriculture Minister Naren Dey, Higher Education Minister Sudarshan Roy Chowdhury, Information and Culture Minister Soumendranath Bera and Fire and Emergency Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee, are in the fray for Tuesday's electoral battle.

The CPI-M is contesting 46 constituencies, CPI six, Trinamool 59, Congress four, Forward Bloc seven, and the BJP 63.

Polls for the 294-member assembly, which started April 18, will end May 10. The counting of votes will take place May 13.


 

 

 

 

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