Stones Thrown At BJP Candidate, Trinamool Alleges Disruptions As Bengal Votes: 10 Points

Thirty constituencies in Bengal and 39 in Assam vote today.

Highlights

  • Thirty constituencies in Bengal and 39 in Assam are voting today
  • Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP in December
  • The contest in Nandigram is now a prestige fight

Kolkata:
Nandigram – the epicentre of the battle for Bengal – is voting today, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee toe-to-toe with her protege-turned-arch rival Suvendu Adhikari. Thirty constituencies in Bengal and 39 in Assam are voting.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien has written to the Election Commission alleging booth capture by BJP workers in Nandigram. “Huge mob of BJP workers have entered booth no.s 6, 7, 49, 27, 162, 21, 26, 13, 262, 256, 163, 20. BJP workers attempting to take control of EVM & rigging the booth,” he wrote

  2. Keshpur was placed under massive security after stones were thrown at the BJP candidate’s car.

  3. Nandigram is in East Medinipur district, the backyard of Adhikaris – the most prominent political family in the area. Under Mamata Banerjee’s directions, Suvendu Adhikari had anchored a popular uprising against a chemical hub in 2007 that had a domino effect and toppled the Left Front after their 34-year-rule in the state. 

  4. Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP in December, upset with Ms Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s rapid rise in the party. Since then, he had donned the role of an aggressive right-winger, running a deeply polarising campaign. Around 30 per cent of the people in Nandigram area are Muslims.

  5. Upset over what she clearly saw as betrayal, Mamata Banerjee threw her hat into the ring at Nandigram, leaving her existing seat in Kolkata’s Bhowanipur. The contest here is now a prestige fight – one that neither can afford to lose.

  6. Ms Banerjee, who injured her leg in Nandigram the same day she filed her nomination, has been campaigning in a wheelchair. Over the last weeks, she had referred to her religion, her gotra and made multiple temple runs.

  7. While Bengal recorded a voter turnout of 37.4 per cent till 11 am, Assam saw a 27.45 per cent turnout till the same time.

  8. The Election Commission, which has deployed around 651 companies of central forces, has declared Bengal’s 10,620 booths — where polling is being held in this phase — as “sensitive”. Nandigram has 355 booths. All are sensitive. 22 companies of security forces are deployed in that one seat. Aerial survey is being conducted with drones and helicopters.

  9. In Assam, four ministers and the deputy speaker are among the candidates contesting on 39 of the state’s 126 seats. In 2016, the BJP won 22 of the seats, the Asom Gana Parishad won two. The Bodoland People’s Front, a former BJP ally, had won four seats.

  10. The Bengali-dominated Barak Valley is drawing the most attention in this phase. Up to 15 seats will witness key contests. AIUDF’s Badruddin Ajmal, who joined hands with the Congress, is expected to be a key player in this area, with the population equally divided between Hindus and Muslims.

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