Singur, Nandigram look forward to Bengal polls
Notification for the fourth phase of West Bengal polls will be issued on Thursday.
Kolkata: Notification for the fourth phase of polls in West Bengal will be issued on Thursday, and these include crucial areas like Singur, Nandigram and some other Marxist bastions where winds of change have been blowing for a while.
The Election Commission will issue the formal notification for the May 3 balloting in 63 constituencies that fall in Howrah, Hoogly, East Midnapore and parts of Burdwan districts. The last date for filing nomination papers is April 14. Scrutiny of nominations takes place April 16. The last date for withdrawal of candidature is April 18.
Hoogly district with 18 assembly seats has been a Left bastion for the last three decades. In 2006, most of the seats from the district were won by the Left Front. But the political equation changed in the 2009 general election when the Trinamool Congress made considerable inroads.
The district houses Singur area which saw a violent stir by the Trinmool-led opposition between 2006 and 2008 against land acquired by the state government for Tata Motors' Nano small car project, forcing the company to shift its plant to Gujarat. Political agitation in the area changed the state's political script as the Trinamool went from strength to strength to decimate the Left Front in several subsequent elections.
The East Midnapore district with 16 assembly seats has also been a Left Front citadel for the last three decades. However, the government's bid to set up a chemical hub in Nandigram triggered violence as the Trinamool led a peasants stir which left 14 people dead in police firing. The district swayed the Trinamool way in the 2008 rural body polls and the opposition won both the Lok Sabha seats the next year.
Howrah district with 16 assembly seats has also tilted towards the Left over the last three decades. But in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the Trinamool won its two Lok Sabha seats. Of the 25 assembly seats in Burdwan, 13 will go to the hustings in the fourth phase of elections.
Following land reforms initiated by the Left Front government, the entire Burdwan district has been a pocketborough of ruling coalition major Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) for years. The district is also known as the rice bowl of the state. Till 2009, the Left has remained an unchallenged political force in the area. But the Trinamool made dents in the district in last year's civic polls.
The Trinamool Congress and the Congress, along with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and SUCI-C, are jointly taking on the CPM-led Left Front which has ruled the state uninterruptedly since 1977. In 2009, the Trinamool, the Congress and the SUCI-C contested together and bagged 26 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats of the state.