Over the last few days many citizens of West Bengal have already cast their votes to elect a new state government, even as others gear up for the next phase of polling on April 6. While the ruling Trinamool Congress looks to retain the Assembly for a third turn, it faces fierce competition from the BJP and the Left Front-Congress-Indian Secular Front (ISF) alliance. Elections are being held in eight phases, from March 27 to April 29. Results will be declared on May 2.
While most opinion polls are projecting a win for the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC, the BJP is expected to make massive inroads. And as West Bengal gears up for the first phase of polling on Saturday, both anticipation and tensions seem to be running high.
A total of 31 Assembly constituencies in districts including eight in Hooghly, seven in Howrah and 16 in South 24 Parganas will go to polls in phase-III. There are 205 candidates in the fray in this round of polling.
How many Constituencies are there in West Bengal?
Hundreds of candidates are contesting to win over enough voters to save themselves a place in the 294-seat West Bengal Assembly.
How many seats are required to form the government?
The winning party or coalition needs to win at least 148 seats to form the government.
While the TMC and the BJP will be contesting on nearly all seats with members of their own party, the Sanyukta Morcha, which comprises the Congress, Left and other allies has divided their seats into far smaller fragments. There are also several other parties including the Janata Dal (United), the Lok Janshakti Party and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in the fray.
The Trinamool Congress is contesting 290 seats alongside its unrecognised ally, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (3 seats) and one independent candidate. The BJP in the meantime is contesting from 293 seats, alongside a single candidate from the All Jharkhand Student's Union.