A high-voltage campaign for the May seven poll in six Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal came to an end today, in which BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi addressed two back to back rallies to give a boost to his party's chances of doing well in this election while Mamata Banerjee too held several rallies.
Pressure is on the Left Front in this round to retain the six seats it had won the last time as nine-time MP Basudeb Acharia, former actresses Moonmoon Sen and Sandhya Roy and singer Babul Supriyo are expected to give a tough fight. The six constituencies going to the poll are Bankura, Jhargram, Purulia, Medinipur, Bishnupur and Asansol in the fourth lap of the five-phase election.
The constituencies of Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram comprise a large part of Jangalmahal which was a Maoist hotbed till a couple of years back. Of the six, the CPI(M) had won four and Forward Bloc and CPI shared one seat each in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. In the 2011 assembly election, the Trinamool Congress had made deep inroads in the assembly segments falling in these six seats covering the districts of West Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura and Bardhaman.
A total of 8877071 electors are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 72 candidates in this phase comprising 4608838 male and 4268191 female voters and 42 from the other gender. Though the Left Front had won all these seats in 2009, its margin of victory had drastically dropped compared to 2004 general elections. Veteran CPI(M) MP Basudeb Acharia, who is fighting for his tenth term, had won by over 2,30,000 votes in 2004, but it was reduced to around 1,07,000 votes in 2009.In Bishnupur, the CPI(M) had won by over 3,31,000 votes in 2004, but it came down to 1,29,000 votes in the last elections.
The Purulia constituency sent the Forward Bloc candidate to the Lok Sabha with a margin of 19,000 votes only, which stood at over 87,000 votes in 2004. In Medinipur, CPI had won by over 1,60,000 votes in 2004 while it came down to just 48,000 in the last elections. CPI(M) candidates had the same fate in Jhargram and Asansol seats with the margin going down hugely. In the 2013 panchayat polls, the ruling Trinamool Congress, fighting alone, won all the four Zila Parishads thus giving it a headstart in the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP is, however, likely to be a crucial factor in at least two seats - Asansol and Bankura, and has generated a lot of interest among the electorate.