Campaigning for the second of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal scheduled for April 18 concluded on Tuesday. The constituencies which will go to the polls on Thursday are Jalpaiguri(SC), Darjeeling and Raiganj seats. All the three seats will see a four-cornered contest between TMC, BJP, Congress and the Left Front.
There was high pitch campaigning for the three seats by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, BJP National President Amit Shah and top leaders of the Congress and Left parties.
In the campaigns mainly by Banerjee, PM Modi and Gandhi a plethora of issues ranging from corruption to communalism, NRC to chitfund scams and development to security featured in their speeches. TMC has fielded Bijoy Chandra Barman against BJP's Jayanta Kumar Roy in Jalpaiguri constituency, where Moni Kumar Darnal of Congress and Bhagirath Chandra Roy of CPI(M) are also in the fray.
In Darjeeling the TMC nominated Amar Singh Rai who will fight agaisnt Raju Bisht of BJP, Sankar Malakar of Congress and Saman Pathak of CPI(M). TMC has nominated Kanhaiyalal Agarwal in Raiganj seat against Md Salim of CPI(M), Deepa Dasmunshi of Congress and Debashree Chowdhury of BJP.
The total electorate is 17,31,834 and that of contestants 12 in Jalpaiguri, while in Darjeeling the figures are 16,00,564 voters and 11 respectively. There are 15,99,948 electorate and 14 contestants in Raiganj constitency, Election Commission said.
The EC will deploy 194 companies of central forces to cover 80 per cent of over 5,000 booths in three Lok Sabha seats to ensure free and fair polling. The polling personnel have already left for the 1868 polling booths in Jalpaiguri constituency, 1899 polling booths in Darjeeling and 1623 polling booths in Raiganj seat.
Besides general election observers and expenditure observers, the poll panel has for the first time deployed a special police observer. In another first, VVPAT will be used in all polling booths along with the EVMs, the EC sources said.