KOLKATA: As the high-stakes second phase of West Bengal Assembly polls approaches, security in the four constituencies has been ramped up with 800 companies of security forces deployed to ensure a peaceful election.
Out of the 800 companies deployed throughout West Bengal, 22 companies of security forces have been deployed in Nandigram alone, where a high-profile contest will be witnessed between incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her former ministerial candidate Suvendu Adhikari.
Out of the 30 seats in South 24 Parganas, Bankura, Purba Medinipur and Paschim Medinipur, Nandigram attaches the highest importance due to the face-off between Banerjee and Adhikari.
Meanwhile, Section 144 has also been imposed in Nandigram as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward or violent incident during the voting process.
Apart from the deployment of the Central Police Force (CPF), the administration has taken non-CPF measures to keep a check and tight vigil on activities in and around polling stations.
“Four non-Central Police Force measures webcasting, micro observer, CCTV, videography we mapped all this. On every booth, a minimum of one has to be there. Whereas on the sensitive booths, two CPF measures will be deployed,” informed Smita Pandey, District Magistrate of Purba Medinipur district.
For phase two of the elections, there are 3,210 polling stations in 1,937 premises in the district.
“Apart from that CPF, there are SFT, SST in place and enough companies. They are doing their confidence-building measures and route in March. They are mobile and in place,” added Pandey.
In phase two of the elections, a total of 30 assembly constituencies from the districts of South 24 Parganas, Bankura, Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur will go to polls.
There are 171 candidates in the fray in phase-II of West Bengal polls, out of which 152 candidates are men while only 19 are women.
Among these candidates, two are undoubtedly the most prominent figures, that is, Mamata Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikari, who had joined the BJP in December last year.
Adhikari had earlier pledged that he will quit politics if he does not defeat the TMC supremo by 50,000 votes in Nandigram.
After the high-voltage Nandigram contest, it is the Debra Assembly seat that set the poll fever high for the second phase of West Bengal elections. In the Debra seat, BJP has fielded former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh against Trinamool Congress’ Humayun Kabir, also an ex-IPS officer.
Many popular faces from the entertainment industry are emerging in the second phase of polls, with actors Soham Chakraborty and Sayantika Banerjee contesting for Chandipur and Bankura respectively from TMC while actor Hiranmoy Chattopadhyay from BJP contesting for the seat in Kharagpur Sadar in Paschim Medinipur.