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Bengal 2nd Phase Voting Begins Amid Violence, Polling Agent Heckled, TMC Worker ‘Killed’; Eyes on Nandigram Battle

TMC and BJP are contesting all 30 seats, while the CPI(M) is in the fray in 15 constituencies and its alliance partners Congress and ISF are fighting in 13 and two seats, respectively, they said. The elections for the 294 assembly seats in West Bengal are being held in eight phases. The votes will be counted on May 2.

In the high stake poll battle this time a victory is a must for Banerjee, who is running for the third successive term as chief minister, so that she can lead the government and keep together her party, which is faced with exodus. For Adhikari it is a battle for political survival as a defeat would be a devastating blow and might also put a question mark on his political graph in his new party the BJP. A victory would not only establish him as one of the tallest leaders in Bengal but would also push him few miles ahead of others in the chief ministerial race in case the BJP is voted to power.

For the Congress-Left-ISF alliance candidate Minakshi Mukherjee, the challenge is to regain her party’s lost ground. The Election Commision has declared as sensitive all the 10,620 polling booths in 30 constituencies spread over four districts where polls will be held on Thursday.

It has deployed around 651 companies of central force to provide security, besides state police personnel at strategic locations during the polling, which will begin at 7 am, sources in the poll body said. More than 75 lakh voters will decide the fate of 191 candidates in the 30 seats spread across four districts of Purba and Paschim Medinipur, South 24 Parganas and Bankura.

A total 199 companies of Central Armed Police Force will be deployed in Purba Medinipur, 210 companies in Paschim Medinipur, 170 in South 24 Parganas and 72 in Bankura, the sources said. TMC and BJP are contesting in all the 30 seats, while CPI(M) is in the fray in 15 and its alliance partners in the Sanjukta Morcha the Congress and ISF are competing in 13 and two seats respectively.

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