West Bengal election 2021: People in Bengal have started casting their votes for 43 seats in the sixth phase of the state's assembly election amid a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are being held in eight phases. It started on March 27. Votes will be counted on May 2 with the last phase scheduled to be held on April 29. The elections are being held at a time when the state has been reporting record number of COVID-19 cases over the past few days. It breached the 10,000-mark of daily infections on Wednesday.
The state registered its highest single-day spike of 10,784 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while 58 people lost their lives.
Here's all you need to know West Bengal Assembly election phase 6:
1. Phase 6 elections are being held in 17 seats in the North 24 Parganas district and nine seats in Nadia -- most of which has a significant presence of the Matuas. Besides, elections are also being held in the nine seats in Uttar Dinajpur district and eight in Purba Bardhaman.
2. The Matua strongholds of Bongaon and Krishnanagar, near the India-Bangladesh border, are crucial seats for the success of any party in the state. Giving citizenship to refugees has emerged as a key poll plank for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the run-up to the elections. The party will be closely observing the trend here to run a test case for the newly enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the state has claimed that Matua community are already Indian citizens and the BJP is making false claims.
3. Voting is being held in 14,480 polling stations in 43 assembly segments in four districts. Polling will continue till 6.30 pm.
4. A total of 306 candidates are in the fray in this phase. Some of the prominent names in the sixth phase election include BJP's national vice president Mukul Roy, TMC ministers Jyotipriyo Mallick, Chandrima Bhattacharya, CPI(M) leader Tanmay Bhattacharya, TMC candidate, and film director Raj Chakraborty and actor-turned-politician Koushani Mukherjee.
5. According to the election commission, a total of 1.03 crore voters will decide the political fate of 306 candidates in this phase. Of them, 53.21 lakh are men and 50.65 lakh women, while 256 are third gender.
6. The poll panel has deployed as many as 1,071 companies of central forces to ensure free and fair voting. Such elaborate arrangements have been put because during the fourth phase of assembly polls on April 10, five people died, including four who were killed after security forces opened fire in Cooch Behar.Also read: West Bengal Election 2021: Voting dates, election results, full poll schedule, timings, all FAQs