Kolkata, Mar 1 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS): A greyed-out Left legion and a tender-footed opposition pulled up their batting pads in West Bengal on Tuesday as bugles were sounded for the uber-hyped Assembly elections here beginning Apr 18.
For the over-30-year-old-uninterrupted-communist rule led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), already weakened by consecutive electoral setbacks in the last few votes over unpopular land policies, the election poses an uphill climb.
However, the polls are no cakewalk for the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) that juggles an on-and-off relation with the Congress party whose help it might need to form a coalition.
“We welcome the announcement of dates. It will be a historic poll in Bengal when the communists will be thrown out,” proclaimed Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on the announcement of the dates.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose said he welcomed the six-phase polling and stressed on holding a peaceful election in West Bengal.
Polling for the election to the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal will be held in six phases. Election Commission of India has issued the schedule for the Assembly Election in New Delhi today.
As per the schedule 54 Assembly Constituencies (ACs) will go to the polls in the first phase on 18th April, 2011.
Polling will be held in 50 ACs in the second phase on Apr 23, 2011 and in 75 ACs in the third phase on Apr 27, 2011.
Polling will be held on the May 3, 2011 in the fourth phase for 63 ACs, on May 7, 2011 in the fifth phase for 38 ACs and on May 10, 2011 in the sixth phase for 14 ACs.
In the first phase the districts of Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda will go to the polls.
In the second phase polling will be held in the districts of Murshidabad, Nadia and Birbhum, in the third phase districts of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas will go to the polls.
Kolkata will vote in the third phase too, on Apr 27.
In the fourth phase polling will be held in the districts of Howrah, Purba Medinipur and 13 ACs of Burdwan district.
Twelve ACs of Paschim Medinipur, 5 ACs of Purulia, 8 ACs of Bankura and 12 ACs of Burdwan district will go to the polls in the 5th phase.
In the 6th and the last phase polling will be held 7 ACs in Paschim Medinipur, 3 ACs in Purulia and 4 ACs in Bankura district.
The counting of votes will take place on May 13, 2011 and the election process shall be completed before May 18, 2011, said the Election Commission.
As per the final electoral roll the total number of votes in West Bengal is 5,60,91,973 and there will be 51,919 polling stations in the state.
For the facility of physically challenged persons instructions have been issued to ensure that all polling stations are located at ground floor and ramps are provided.
Facilitation shall also be provided for locating electors’ name in a polling station or a group of polling stations through help lines and facilitation centres.