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West Bengal Assembly: BJP-TMC goes to polls battle on Saturday

  • Published at 10:34 pm March 26th, 2021
West bengal_BJP-TMC
Polling officials check election materials after collecting them from a distribution centre ahead of the first phase of West Bengal state assembly election, March 26, 2021 Reuters

Thirty seats vote in the first of phase of the West Bengal polls on Saturday

In the fiercely fought electoral contest, two questions dominate on the ground: will the BJP be able to amplify the momentum it received in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in order to cross the magic figure in the state, or will it be a third straight term for chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC)?

The legislative assembly vote will begin today in the first of the eight-phase assembly elections in West Bengal, reports India’s News 18.

In 2011, Banerjee stormed to power with 184 seats, ending the 34-year Left rule. Now, the BJP is citing this history to say the winds are in its favour.

In 2011, incumbent chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya suffered a shock defeat from the Jadhavpur seat at the hands of his government’s former chief secretary, Manish Gupta, who contested on a TMC ticket.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of meddling with the functioning of the Election Commission after the poll panel ordered a flurry of transfers of senior state government officials over the last few days, PTI reported.

“The way BJP is interfering in the functioning of EC, it appears to be a BJP commission,” Banerjee said at a public meeting at Danton, reports Scroll.in. “BJP has lost the match and hence has resorted to the game of changing officers.”

The Trinamool Congress chief, however, exuded confidence that her party would emerge triumphant in the elections. “I am telling you [EC], transfer all. That will not prevent our victory,” she said. “Because people are with us. Officers don’t vote, people vote.”

Banerjee’s accusations came hours after the Election Commission transferred five officials in the state who were on poll duty, just two days ahead of the first phase of elections on March 27, reported The Indian Express.