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Campaign ends for phase three of Bengal polls: Mamata, Yogi face off

The third phase of elections will be held for 31 seats in parts of rural Howrah, the Sunderban region, the Diamond Harbour and Baruipur belts in the South 24 Parganas, and parts of the Hooghly district

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

The dust settled on high voltage campaigning for phase three Bengal polls today.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday asserted that “goons sheltered by the Trinamul Congress” will be tracked and sent behind bars after the BJP forms government in West Bengal. He said the “murdered BJP karyakartas (workers)”, including Sudarshan Pramanik from Hooghly district, will get justice “after 28 days”, referring to 2 May, the day of the counting of votes polled in the eight-phase assembly elections.

“TMC goons, listen carefully. After the counting of votes, we will teach you a lesson. Similar things happened in Uttar Pradesh four years back after we formed the government there.

“We imprisoned the tormentors of people. In Bengal, we will punish those who are a part of the syndicate raj and demand cut money (commission),” Adityanath said.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday wondered whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “god or a superhuman” to make claims of a BJP triumph in the Assembly elections, six phases of which still remain.

Senior BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta, TMC minister Ashima Patra and former CPI(M) minister Kanti Ganguly are among the 205 candidates whose campaigns for the third phase of elections in 31 seats in West Bengal ended on Sunday evening.

In this phase, elections will be held in parts of rural Howrah, the Sunderban region, the Diamond Harbour and Baruipur belts in the South 24 Parganas, and parts of the Hooghly district.

The campaign ended at 5 p.m. with elections scheduled to be held on Tuesday.

The BJP’s campaign was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who addressed several public meetings in these three districts. Besides, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Union minister Smriti Irani held a slew of rallies and roadshows in the last few days in these areas.

The Trinamul Congress’s charge was led by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, even as TMC MP and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee addressed a significant number of rallies.

In his successive rallies, the Prime Minister attacked the TMC government over “appeasement politics”, while raking up the issue of groundlevel corruption, including the alleged irregularities in Amphan relief.

On the other side, the chief minister took on the leaders who left her party to join the BJP ahead of the elections, urging people to vote against the “traitors”. She also attacked the BJP-led government at the Centre over rising fuel prices and the state of the economy.

The Left-led alliance focussed more on street-corner meets, small gatherings and door-to-door visits in absence of a face to counter Modi and Banerjee at large rallies. However, ISF founder Abbas Siddiqui’s public meetings saw mega gatherings in places such as Canning that have significant Muslim population.

A total of 78,52,425 voters will decide the fate of 205 candidates in the 31 seats. Of them, 39,93,280 are males, 38,58,902 females and 243 third gender voters. The 16 seats in South 24 Parganas, going to the polls in this phase, are the most affected by cyclone Amphan that hit the state amid the lockdown last May.

TN, Puducherry & Kerala gear up for 6 April:

The high octane campaign for the 6 April Tamil Nadu Assembly elections ended on Sunday at 7 p.m, with the stage now set for the polling which will decide whether it will be a hattrick of terms for the AIADMK or the return of DMK after a decade in Opposition. Massive roadshows and long rallies, led by top national and state leaders on Sunday marked the finale of the weeks-long high-octane open campaigning for the 6 April Assembly polls in Kerala.

Despite a ban imposed by the Election Commission on crowded culmination of poll campaigning because of the Covid-19, mass participation of party workers could be seen in the final events in most of the 140 constituencies.

The usual din and bustle of electioneering were missing in most constituencies in Puducherry, hours before the curtains came down on poll campaign today.

Puducherry and its outlying regions of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam go to polls on 6 April in a single phase. Meanwhile, campaigning for the third and final phase of polls in Assam ended today.

~With inputs from PTI~