Voting begins for third phase of West Bengal polls


New Delhi: Polling began for the third and largest phase of the six-phase West Bengal assembly elections on Thursday, when 62 constituencies go to polls. The phase is crucial for the incumbent Trinamool Congress (TMC) as some of the politically important districts, including seven constituencies in Kolkata, Murshidabad, Nadia and Burdwan, will vote today.

According to data released by the Election Commission of India, more than 1.37 crore voters are eligible to vote in this phase, including more than 65 lakh women voters. The electorate will decide the political fate of 418 candidates in fray, including 34 women candidates.

While both TMC and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have fielded candidates in all the constituencies, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Congress have fielded candidates in 38 and 26 constituencies, respectively. The incumbent TMC is pitted against rivals Left parties, the Congress as well as the BJP, which is trying to make inroads in the state.

Earlier this week, Mint reported from Burdwan, Nadia and Kolkata that chief minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC was ”definitely facing anti-incumbency sentiment, yet the electorate is not willing to go the full distance”.

Turnout in this phase is going to be the key for the ongoing elections in the state as this phase has the maximum number of constituencies in the six-phase polling that is set to end on 5 May.