Minutes after polling began for West Bengal state polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal to eligible voters to step out and exercise their democratic right. Polling began at 7 AM for the 44 seats in the state as part of phase 4 of the eight-phased assembly elections.
As the 4th phase of the West Bengal elections begin, urging the people voting today to do so in record numbers. I would especially request the youth and women to vote in large numbers.
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi)
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also made an appeal on Twitter to the eligible voters to come out in large numbers.
আমি বাংলার সকল মা, ভাই ও বোনেদের আবেদন করব, সকলে আজ বিপুল সংখ্যায় নিজের গণতান্ত্রিক অধিকার প্রয়োগ করুন।
I urge my brothers and sisters in Bengal to come out in large numbers and exercise their democratic right today.
– Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial)
, including movie stars, MPs and even a cricketer, are on the ticket in 44 constituencies spread over Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts in north Bengal and parts of South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hoogly in the state’s south.
Singer-turned-minister Babul Supriyo will take on sitting MLA Arup Biswas at Tollygunge, known to be the heart of the Bengali film industry in the southern part of Kolkata.
Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, who is also the Trinamool’s secretary-general, will take on film actor Srabanti Chatterjee of the BJP in Behala West seat to return to the assembly for the fourth successive term.
Another actor Payel Sarkar is running from Behala East for the BJP while cricketer Manoj Tiwari is batting for the Trinamool from Howrah North.
Also in the race is Trinamool defector Rajib Banerjee, a former minister of the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, who will contest from Domjur in Howrah district on a BJP ticket. He along with fellow turncoat Suvendu Adhikari has been the focus of stinging attacks by Mamata Banerjee who called them “gaddars” (traitors) and Mir Jafar and attacked them in almost every election meeting.
A total of 1.15 crore people, including 290 members of the third gender, are eligible to vote in this phase.
The Election Commission has posted around 80,000 personnel from the central armed police force (CAPF) to guard nearly 16,000 polling stations.