BJP’s Mukul Roy Among Big Names As Bengal Votes In Sixth Phase

Mukul Roy will contest from Krishnanagar (North).

Bengal votes today in the Assembly election sixth phase amid a grim surge in Covid cases. Polling will take place for 43 seats across four districts, with the BJP’s Mukul Roy – the first member of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool to quit.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. The fate of several heavyweight candidates will be decided in this round, including three ministers, three film stars and several former TMC leaders who switched to the BJP in recent months unlike Mukul Roy who joined BJP in 2017. Also on the ballot is the BJP’s Rahul Sinha, who last week was given a 48-hour campaigning ban by the Election Commission for “inflammatory remarks” on the Cooch Behar firing.

  2. Mukul Roy will contest from Krishnanagar (North) with the Trinamool’s Koushani Mukherjee expected to be his main rival. The BJP’s Rahul Sinha will contest against the Trinamool’s Jyotipriya Mallik, who is the Minister for Food and Supplies, from Habra in North 24 Parganas district.

  3. The contest in Barrackpore will see the BJP’s Chandramani Shukla face one of the Trinamool’s more glamorous faces – actor-director Raj Chakraborty, who the party hopes can counter the influence exerted over the area by BJP MP Arjun Singh. Chandramani Shukla is father of BJP youth leader Manish Shukla brutally killed in nearby Titagarh in October.

  4. In Dum Dum North the BJP’s Archana Majumdar will go up against the Trinamool’ minister Chandrima Bhattacharya. The incumbent MLA there Tanmay Bhattacharya is from CPI-M. In Jagatdal, Arindam Bhattacharya – one of a flood of MLAs and leaders to swap the Trinamool for the BJP in the run-up to this election – faces former colleague Somnath Shyam.

  5. Another high-profile contest will be in North 24 Parganas’ Bijpur, where Mukul Roy’s son and former Trinamool MLA is fighting to retain the seat on a BJP ticket against Subodh Adhikari. And in Goalpokhor it is brother vs brother as Trinamool candidate Mohammad Ghulam Rabbani, the outgoing Labour Minister and who has also tested positive for COVID-19, faces sibling Ghulam Sarwar, who joined the BJP in January.

  6. Subrata Thakur, a prominent face in the Matua community that has been heavily courted by the BJP in this election over promises about implementing the contentious citizenship law, will contest from Bongaon against the Trinamool’s Narottam Biswas.

  7. The Covid pandemic (and the alarming spike over the past fortnight) and the vaccination drive have both turned into poll issues, with Ms Banerjee and the BJP squabbling over blame. The Trinamool has also failed to persuade the Election Commission to club the last three phases of these polls. The poll body informed the ruling party of its inability to do so last evening.

  8. The Trinamool swept to victory in 32 of these seats in the 2016 Assembly election, picking up 44.9 per cent of the vote share. The BJP and its allies secured 10.7 per cent of the votes but failed to win a single seat. The Congress won seven with 11.7 per cent votes. The Left, allied with the Congress for this election, won four seats and 27.9 per cent of the votes.

  9. Three years later, in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP gave the Trinamool a massive fright in Assembly constituencies in these areas; the party led in 19 segments to its rival’s 24 and only trailed by 1.7 per cent of the votes. The Congress and the Left both failed to open their accounts and, between them, totalled less than 15 per cent of the votes.

  10. The Election Commission has deployed 779 companies of central forces to keep the peace – after five voters were killed in firing by central forces on April 10 in violence at a polling booth in Cooch Behar district. Over 100 companies will be in Barrackpore, which is the domain of BJP MP Arjun Singh and is infamous for political clashes.

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