The Election Commission of India (ECI) will announce the dates for the assembly elections in four states, including West Bengal, and the Union Territory of Puducherry on Friday.
The poll panel will hold a press conference at 4.30 PM today during which it is expected to announce the dates for assembly elections in four states – West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala – and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
The terms of the legislative assemblies of the four states are coming to an end in May and June.
Election to the 294-seat West Bengal Legislative Assembly is expected to be held in March – April. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Election Commission is likely to hold assembly elections in West Bengal in seven-eight phases. In 2016, elections were held in six phases from April 4-May 5.
According to Election Commission data, about 6,400 polling booths are deemed sensitive in the TMC-ruled state – the highest among the 5 states going to polls. The number of polling stations has also been increased in Bengal from 78,903 to 1,01,790.
The full bench of the poll panel had visited West Bengal for two days in the third week of January to take stock of the preparedness, and law and order situation. Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain had also visited the state twice to take stock of the situation there.
The poll panel had held meetings with representatives of political parties, central and state regulatory agencies, senior IAS and IPS officers and the state’s top bureaucrats including the state’s chief secretary, home secretary and director general of police.
The Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal also held a video conference with district magistrates. The districts in West Bengal have been asked to submit details of polling stations and their requirements to make the booths and polling stations ready for the polling day.
It may be recalled that aiming to oust the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government from power, the BJP has launched an extensive election campaign in West Bengal. The saffron party has on Thursday kicked off the ‘Lokkho Sonar Bangla’ campaign to drum up support ahead of the assembly polls.
While PM Narendra Modi toured Tamil Nadu on Thursday, Home Minister Amit Shah has arrived in poll-bound Assam to review preparations for the upcoming assembly polls in the state.
In Puducherry, President’s Rule has been imposed and the assembly kept under suspended animation after the V Narayanasamy-led Congress government resigned earlier this week ahead of a vote of confidence.