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Assam, West Bengal go for first phase polling as campaigning picks up momentum in poll-bound states

ANI | Updated: Mar 27, 2021 12:34 IST

New Delhi [India], March 27 (ANI): The campaigning has picked up pace in Assam and West Bengal that will witness first phase polling on Saturday and lead campaigners from contesting parties have intensified their efforts to woo voters in other poll-bound states also.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief JP Nadda, Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have campaigned for the party in the last few days.
Campaigning has picked up momentum in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry which will go to the polls on April 6.
Parties have also deployed several local leaders in the campaign to give momentum to their campaign.
Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, former union ministers Salman Khurshid, Mallikarjun Kharge and Manish Tewari, party leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Ripun Bora, Jitendra Singh, Gaurav Gogoi, Oommen Chandy have campaigned for the party.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is leading the party's campaign in the state. In Tamil Nadu leaders of AIADMK, DMK, Makkal Needhi Maiam and other regional parties in the fray have intensified their campaign with less than ten days left for electioneering.
Elections are being held in eight phases in West Bengal and three phases in Assam.
Thirty seats in West Bengal and 47 in Assam are going to the polls in the first phase on Saturday.
The first phase of elections in high-stakes poll battle in West Bengal will be held on Saturday with both the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking to outdo each other in poll promises and campaign rhetoric.
While the BJP is striving to form its first government in the state, the Left-ISF-Congress alliance is also striving to spring a surprise.
Thirty seats go to the polls in the first phase and include all constituencies in Purulia and Jhargram and some constituencies from Bankura, Purba Medinipur and Paschim Medinipur.
Elections to 294 constituencies in the state will be held in eight phases till April 29 and the results will be declared on May 2.
The first phase of polling will decide the electoral fate of 191 candidates including 21 women.
TMC had won 27 out of these 30 seats in the 2016 elections and BJP was not a major player in the last polls. However, the party has gained in strength in the past five years and has emerged as the main challenger to the ruling party which has won two successive assembly polls. The BJP won 18 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections against 22 won by the TMC.
Congress had won two seats going to the polls in the first phase and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) had won one seat.
In Assam, the Congress is fighting 43 of 47 seats going to the polls in the first phase.
A total of 264 candidates are in the fray from 47 seats.
In 2016, the BJP and its ally AGP had won 35 of these seats. The BJP alone had bagged 27 seats. Congress could manage to win only 9 seats despite securing nearly the same vote percentage.
In the first phase, 37 sitting MLAs are re-contesting including 24 from the BJP, 6 each from Congress and AGP, and one from the AIUDF.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also addressed rallies in the state.
Congress has stitched a coalition named "Mahajath" with All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation, the Anchalik Gana Marcha (AGM) and the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) to oust the BJP government.
BJP has allied with Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People's Party Liberal (UPPL).
PM Modi addressed one rally in West Bengal and two in Assam on Wednesday. (ANI)