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    WB polls: 364 to contest 54 seats in first phase

    Siliguri: As many as 364 candidates will contest 54 seats in six northern districts of West Bengal that go to polls in the first phase of assembly elections April 18, according to sources at the state's chief electoral office.

    A total of 401 nominations were filed for the first phase of polls, but 37 were rejected. The last date for withdrawal of candidature was on Monday.

    In Darjeeling district, 44 nominees were cleared out of 48 after scrutiny, election officials said. Phansidewa constituency in Siliguri sub-division has the most number of candidates at 9 while Darjeeling has the least at 5.

    Significant contestants in the first phase of elections are senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) leader and state Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya (Siliguri), slain Madan Tamang's widow and Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) president Bharati Tamang (Darjeeling), former Andhra Pradesh chief secretary and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) study forum member Trilok Dewan (Darjeeling), GJM leaders Rohit Sharma (Kurseong) and Harka Bahadur Chetry (Kalimpong).