As dismay engulfs the state after the Vivekananda flyover collapse, campaigning for the initial part of the first phase of West Bengal Assembly polls ended today, two day before 18 constituencies of maoist-affected areas in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura will vote.
133 candidates will try their luck in the first of the six phases of Assembly elections.
There are total 4,945 polling stations out of which 1,962 have been classified as critical ones by the Election Commission. Voting will be held amidst tight security by both central and state police forces from 7 AM.
In some seats, polling will end at 4 PM due to security considerations while in others it will go on till 6 PM.
To monitor the polling process, 14 general observers, 676 micro observers, 202 digital cameras, 642 video cameras, 210 CCTVs have been deployed.
In all Left-wing extremism affected polling stations, the EC has decided to deploy one section of forces.
Star campaigners in this phase include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra and Congress MP and spokesman Raj Babbar.
In poll rallies and meetings, opposition parties have been harping upon major issues like the Saradha chit-fund scam, the recent Narada sting operation which reportedly showed TMC leaders accepting bribe.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called this alliance an “unholy” one while Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended an election rally in Kharagpur town, mocked at it saying “dosti (friendship) in Bengal and kushti (wrestling) in Kerala”.
The ‘Ma Maati Manush’ government led by Banerjee has however, been campaigning on the all-round development work done in the state during their five-year rule.
The tragic incident of a flyover collapse in Kolkata two days ago affected poll campaigning as many state leaders including the chief minister had to rush to the city.