A number of political heavyweights, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party candidates who were purportedly seen in the Narada sting operation footage, are in the fray for the crucial fifth phase of West Bengal Assembly poll tomorrow.
Altogether 349 candidates, including 43 women, are trying their luck in 53 constituencies of South 24 Parganas, Kolkata south and Hooghly districts that will go to polls tomorrow. Polling will be held from 7 AM to 6 PM at over 14,500 booths for the 1.2 crore electorate.
To curb violence, the Election Commission has made elaborate security arrangements by deploying a 90,000-strong contingent of central and state police forces in the three poll-bound districts. The poll panel has also ordered imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPc in all the constituencies on polling day.
The centre of attraction in this phase is Bhawanipur constituency in south Kolkata where Trinamool Congress chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is pitted against former union minister Deepa Dasmunshi (Congress) and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose (BJP).
This phase will also decide the future of three other political heavyweights who were purportedly shown accepting cash from a fictitious company in the Narada sting operation. Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee, Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim featured in the sting operation.
Along with the Saradha chitfund scam and the ‘Syndicate Raj’ (local real estate cartel for supply of materials), the Narada sting has become a major poll issue in the state.