More than 73 lakh voters in West Bengal will decide the fate of 191 candidates across 30 assembly segments, most of which are in the once-Naxal affected Jungle mahal region, as the state goes to the polls in the first phase on Saturday.
The elections will be held amid tight security with the Election Commission deploying around 684 companies of central forces that would guard 10,288 polling booths housed in 7,061 premises, officials said.
In the first phase, polling will take place amid strict COVID-19 guidelines in all nine seats in Purulia, four in Bankura, four in Jhargram and six in Paschim Medinipur, besides the seven seats in high-stakes Purba Medinipur- the home ground of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari.
The TMC and BJP have fielded candidates in 29 seats each, while the Left-Congress-ISF alliance has put up candidates in all 30 seats, even as there are “friendly fights” in some.
The Trinamool Congress is fighting in 29 of the 30 seats, while supporting an independent in Joypur assembly segment in Purulia as the nomination of its official candidate Ujjwal Kumar was rejected by the EC due to discrepancy.
“The central forces will be mainly deployed in and around the booths and the state force will be used for the maintenance of law and order. The constables will be used for the queue management,” the official said.