West Bengal Elections: EC orders prohibitory orders in 53 constituencies for fifth phase polling

              This phase — 53 constituencies in South Kolkata, Hooghly and South 24-Parganas will vote on Saturday — will see the chief minister and four scam-tainted Trinamool Congress legislators amid a test for the Left-Congress combine to prove its hold on Kolkata. . Kolkata has 1,024 polling premises with 2,807 booths which will go into polls from 7am to 6pm during the fifth phase of West Bengal Assembly elections on Saturday. (Source: Express photo by Subham Dutta)

CAMPAIGNING FOR the high-stake fifth phase Assembly poll in West Bengal, in which a galaxy of heavyweights including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are in fray, ended on Thursday evening.

This phase — 53 constituencies in South Kolkata, Hooghly and South 24-Parganas will vote on Saturday — will see the chief minister and four scam-tainted Trinamool Congress legislators amid a test for the Left-Congress combine to prove its hold on Kolkata.

Apprehending violence, the Election Commission (EC) has ordered the imposition of prohibitory orders in all the 53 constituencies on Saturday. The day will seal the fate of 349 candidates, to be decided by 1.2 crore voters.

Among those contesting are Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim from Kolkata Port, Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee from Behala East, Iqbal Ahmed from Khanakul in Hooghly and Subrata Mukherjee from Ballygunge — all purportedly involved in the Narada sting scam.

Other ministers in fray include Subrata Mukherjee (Panchayat), Partha Chatterjee (Education), Aroop Biswas (Housing and Youth Affairs), Manish Gupta (Power) and Javed Ahmed Khan (Fire Service and Disaster Management). Star candidates in this phase include singer Indranil Sen and footballer Nabi, who has been the skipper of Indian Super League side Mumbai City Football Club.

Read MoreWest Bengal elections: Boy tears up TMC nominee’s posters, ‘beaten up’Bengal elections: Singur braces for high-voltage fightWest Bengal Elections: EC orders prohibitory orders in 53 constituencies for fifth phase pollingWest Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to face heavyweight contenders in BhabanipurUnsung heroes: West Bengal poll staff who ‘risk’ their life for duty

However, all eyes are on Bhabanipur in South Kolkata — the seat from where Mamata Banerjee will contest against former Union minister Deepa Dasmunsi (Congress) and Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose (BJP).

BJP national president Amit Shah, in a rally, had said: “You need to win only one seat to defeat the Trinamool and that is Bhabanipur.” He also appealed for votes in the name of Netaji, saying: “This is your opportunity to pay tribute to Netaji”.

On Thursday, BJP organised two roadshows in the constituency. While actors-turned-BJP candidates Roopa Ganguly and Locket Chatterjee did their best to accrue votes for Bose, Mamata continued her whirlwind campaign, saying: “I have come to my para for your blessings. Don’t believe the lies that you are being told. Believe what you see.”

Hogging the limelight will be another constituency — Singur — which in the 2011 Assembly elections, along with Nandigram, had set the stage for the Trinamool’s spectacular ascension to power. Five years down the line, land acquisition and industrialisation are still the focus in the constituency, where the bare structure of Tata Motors small car factory presented a surrealistic sight precipitating Bengal’s industrial decline.

Thursday saw BJP’s Babul Supriyo, the MP from Asansol, campaigning in Jaynagar, Kulpi, Khankul as well as in Kolkata Port and Bhabanipur.

Sweets(sandesh) are made of by pure chana , Symbol of different parties along with Mamata Banejee and Narendra Modi sells at a sweet shop in South Kolkata . The cost of one 250 gm sandesh is Rupees 125 . Express photo by Partha Paul.Sweets(sandesh) are made of by pure chana , Symbol of different parties along with Mamata Banejee and Narendra Modi sells at a sweet shop in South Kolkata . The cost of one 250 gm sandesh is Rupees 125 . (Source: Express photo by Partha Paul)Likewise, Congress’ Sachin Pilot campaigned at Kolkata Port. Later, he slammed the BJP, accusing it to cozying up to Trinamool. Former Indian cricket skipper and Congress leader, who also campaigned for the Left-Congress combine, said: “I have come to you, seeking votes for our candidates… I hope you will not run me out.”

The CPM wasn’t far behind. Ashok Bhattacharya, the leader behind the electoral understanding, campaigned for Sujan Chakraborty — former MP from Jadavpur — contesting in the traditional Left bastion that Trinamool annexed in 2011.

Meanwhile, with less than two days before the 53 constituencies in South Kolkata, Hooghly and South-24 Parganas go to polls, the Election Commission has almost doubled the number of central police observers in the three areas.

Mamata was quick to retaliate. “After destroying Bengal, they are asking Delhi (read Election Commission) to impose curfew. People will snatch their democratic rights… People have to come out and vote. They cannot move out… what is this? They are just imposing Section 144 (prohibitory orders) to restrict movement. Since they (Opposition) are scared that they can’t win, they are saying impose curfew,” she said.

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