Phase 6 Polls In West Bengal Today Amid Covid Emerging Cases: 10 Points

There are 43 assembly seats across four areas for opinion polls at this stage. (Representative)

The sixth phase of the assembly elections in Bengal is being held in the shadow of spiraling Covid cases. First, Bengal has crossed the 10,000 mark, recording 10,748 fresh cases. There are 43 assembly seats across four areas for opinion polls at this stage

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. This is a critical step for the ruling Trinamool Congress and the challenger BJP. Samyukta Morcha of the CPM, Congress and a few smaller parties are competing. Voting started at 7 am in 17 constituencies in Parganas North 24 district, nine each in Nadia and Uttar Dinajpur and eight in Purba Bardhaman district.

  2. The fate of several heavyweight candidates will be decided at this stage – three ministers, three movie stars, several TMC turncoats and Mukul Roy, the first Trinamool leader to join the BJP.

  3. The 43-seat vote today made a huge contribution to the jump in the BJP’s vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. From 10 per cent in the 2016 assembly polls, the BJP garnered 41 per cent of votes in 2019. The Trinamool Congress won 32 of 43 seats In 2016. In 2019, it led in only 24 segments, while the BJP, did not win a seat single in 2016, led in 19 segments.

  4. The Election Commission has rejected the requests of Derek O’Brien of Trinamool Congress and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of Congress to tie up the rest of opinion polls.

  5. Concerns about Covid have not stopped campaigning. Union minister Amit Shah will attend three polling meetings today, Bengal Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh has four roadshows and BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari is holding three roadshows in Kolkata, which has been worst hit by the pandemic.

  6. Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold four public meetings in north and central Bengal. The CPM and Congress have dialed their campaign citing Covid, their star campaigners have canceled their rallies.

  7. Adhir Chowdhury, the head of the state Congress and the chief campaigner of Congress, tweeted that he had tested Covid positive and would be campaigning more or less. Rahul Gandhi had canceled all his matches in Bengal given the surge.

  8. Concerns over violence at this stage of polls have led to the deployment of 779 central forces companies. Of those, 107 will be in Barrackpore, the domain of BJP MP Arjun Singh, known for political conflicts.

  9. Even on the eve of the vote, bombs were thrown at Khardah BJPs candidate Silbhadra Dutta last night, prompting a sit-in protest by Dutta and BJP workers at Rahara police station. A house under construction in Titagarh was severely damaged after some bombs stored there exploded this morning. Five people were killed in the fourth phase of voting in the Cooch Behar area as Central Industrial Security forces opened fire, sparking shock waves in the state and massive controversy.

  10. The unprecedented eight-stage election began in the state on March 27. After today, two more phases will remain. Voting will be held on April 26 and 29. Votes will be counted on May 2.