7 Bengal LS seats to go to polls in the fifth phase

TMC. AFP file photo

Seven Lok Sabha seats will go polls in West Bengal in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Monday. Elaborate security arrangements have been made and 578 companies of central forces will be deployed to cover almost all the polling booths.

The seven Lok Sabha constituencies—Bongaon(SC), Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Sreeramore, Hooghly, Arambagh—have witnessed intense campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The fate of 683 candidates will be decided by 1,16,91,889 voters.

Among the key constituencies Barrackpore is expected to witness a close contest between TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi and BJP’s Arjun Singh, a former TMC MLA who joined the saffron party days ahead of the elections. It remains to be seen if Singh has the organisational clout in the constituency which he had in TMC or if he will be overwhelmed by his former party. A lot will depend on the Hindi-speaking voters in the area who form about 40% of the population in the constituency.

Bongaon will also witness an interesting contest between the TMC and the BJP with both sides keen on getting the votes of the Matua community, a socio-religious sect founded by 19th century reformer Harichand Thakur in modern day Bangladesh who form large part of the electorate.

While the TMC has fielded its sitting MP Mamata Thakur, who currently heads the Matua Mahasangh, the apex body of the community, the BJP has fielded the Santanu Thakur, the grandson of the late Matua matriarch Binapani Devi. Mamata is the daughter-in-law of Binapani Devi. She was recently injured in an accident.

All the related constituencies are currently held by the TMC.

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