This will be the third and final round of the eight-stage elections in West Bengal. The EC had rejected the TMC’s suggestion to tie the rest of the state elections.
Here’s all you need to know about sixth-step voting …
43 seats to go polling
Voting will take place in 43 of the 294 constituencies on Thursday where over-crore voters will decide the fate of 306 candidates.
Voting will take place at 14,480 polling stations across assembly segments in four districts.
This move will witness stiff competition between the ruling Trinamool Congress and its main BJP opponent.
The TMC and BJP have tried hard to build the confidence of Matuas, who creates a large chunk of the state’s Scheduled Caste population, in most of the 17 assembly segments that are going to poll this in the North 24 Parganas area and some of the nine seats in Nadia.
Apart from these constituencies, elections are held in nine seats in Uttar Dinajpur district and eight in Purba Bardhaman.
Prominent names in the sixth phase of assembly polls include BJP national vice president Mukul Roy, TMC ministers Jyotipriyo Mallick and Chandrima Bhattacharya and CPM leader Tanmay Bhattacharya.
The political fate of film director Raj Chakraborty and actor Koushani Mukherjee, who are TMC candidates from Barrackpore and North Krishnanagar constituencies respectively, will also be decided at this stage.
Security measures have been intensified given the violence in previous periods, particularly the death of five people in Cooch Behar in the fourth phase of voting on April 10, an Election Commission official said.
The polling panel has decided to use at least 1,071 central forces companies in the sixth phase to ensure free and fair voting, he said.
It will also put in place measures to ensure strict compliance with Covid-19 protocols during the voting process, the official said.
West Bengal on Wednesday registered its highest one-day injection of 10,784 new Covid-19 cases.
High voltage propagation
Despite the Covid-19 infections that surged across India as well as the state, the BJP and TMC held a few rallies for woo voters before the sixth phase.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah, BJP chief JP Nadda and Bollywood star Mithun Chakraborty led the saffron party campaign, which has strengthened to be TMC’s top challenger in this election.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee led the TMC campaign along with her nephew and the party’s youth wing chief, Abhishek Banerjee.
The Election Commission had reduced daily campaign hours and extended the “silence period” from 48 hours to 72 hours in all three remaining stages of the assembly polls given Cooch Behar violence and the Covid cases -19 incremental in the state.
No change in voting timetable: EC
Meanwhile, the voting panel on Wednesday dismissed any change in the West Bengal assembly poll timetable and told the Trinamool Congress that its suggestion to club the last three of the eight stages is “not feasible”.
The EC also told West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury that his call to conduct the rest of polls in West Bengal after Ramzan’s Muslim fasting month is over and that the current pandemic is weakened, is not acceptable as assembly term the state ends on May 30 and a new assembly must be established before then.
“Adjournment of scheduled elections would affect adherence to Constitutional and statutory provisions relating to the timely conduct of elections,” the Congress leader was told.
Results for 2 May
Elections have been held in 180 constituencies so far, and the remaining 114 seats are due to go from April 22 to 29.
The count for the West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry elections takes place on May 2.
(With inputs from PTI)