New Delhi: With the seventh and the last phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019 underway, the polling in nine seats in Kolkata will be a test of the urban voters.
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The nine Lok Sabha constituencies are- Kolkata Dakshin, Kolkata Uttar, Jadavpur, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur and Diamond Harbour, all of which in 2014 elections saw a BJP wave. Reportedly, in Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar, BJP polled as much as 25 per cent of votes in the 2014 General elections. From 2014, the support for BJP is reported to have only increased, specifically in the section of educated, middle class.
The nine seats also go to polls in the backdrop of recent violent clashes that broke out between the BJP and TMC workers on Tuesday during Amit Shah’s rally in north Kolkata. In the ensuing violence, a bust of social activist Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was also demolished. It remains to be seen how the voters view the skirmish and vote on Sunday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has been no less than a resurgent force in West Bengal, which has lately also positioned itself as the Trinamool Congress’ main rival in the state. It rendered TMC and the Left to the sidelines in the 2018 Bengal rural polls.
Lack of jobs, backlog in dearness allowance to state government employees could be some of the factors that might cut into the TMC’s vote share this election season.
Seven of the nine seats have more than 20 per cent Muslim population, with most in Basirhat that has as much as 47 per cent of the Muslim population, whereas the lowest 21 per cent is in Kolkata Dakshin.
ELABORATE SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS
Meanwhile, 710 companies of central forces, 461 Quick Response Teams (QRT) and state police have been deployed for Sunday’s polling in West Bengal.
“All the security-related arrangements have been completed. Measures are in place taking all the factors under considerations,” Ajay V. Nayak, special observer for West Bengal said.
“Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC has been clamped up to a distance of 200 metres from the polling stations. Violation of this order may result in three years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine, Central Police Observer Vivek Dubey said.