Kolkata: All elections and all phases of polling are important in a fierce battle as we are witnessing between Trinamool Congress and BJP; but the focus now moves to the fifth phase of polling on Saturday, April 17. In these 45 assembly segments, the BJP's growth has been phenomenal. Among the 45 assembly constituencies that would go for polling on April 17, are the segments where the BJP had 'outsmarted' its onetime ally and now a bitter rival, the Trinamool Congress. The BJP had secured 45 per cent of votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections while Trinamool had to remain contented with only 41.5 per cent votes. In the number of seats, Mamata Banerjee's outfit had maintained a lead in 23 and the BJP in the remaining 22. Notably, the Koch-Rajbanshi community is the largest scheduled caste group and can easily influence the outcome in 22 assembly seats. So, the big picture takes away is - what really remains to be seen is whether the BJP has retained its hold on the voters of West Bengal - where the party had not long ago faced numerous kinds of organisational issues. Some of these constituencies are Dhupguri, Jalpaiguri, Rajganj, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Kurseong, Siliguri, Ranaghat, Ranaghat Dakshin, Kalyani, Dum Dum, Bidhannagar, Madhyamgram, Barasat and Basirhat Dakshin. 'The SC or the Dalit vote' is important in West Bengal polls. The BJP has identified groups such as Koch-Rajbongshis, Namasudras and Matuas. No less than, BJP national president, J P Nadda, has said, “I feel sad that Mamata di, who has been the Chief Minister for 10 years, has not spoken a word to condemn one Trinamool leader's remarks against Dalits. This is her anti-Dalit politics, we should understand". The reference is to Trinamool leader Sujata Mondal Khan’s alleged derogatory comments. A BJP delegation led by Dushyant Gautam, party general secretary, has urged the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, that Trinamool leader Sujata Mondal Khan, has said that some Scheduled Castes people are 'beggars by nature. Among others in the race, actor-turned- neta and state cabinet minister Bratya Basu, film star turned MLA Chiranjeet and former minister Madan Mitra are among the high profile, Trinamool candidates. In Dumdum, voters would decide the fate of Trinamool Congress leader Bratya Basu. In Barasat, actor Deepak Chakraborty, popularly known as Chiranjeet, is contesting as the TMC nominee. Another popular Trinamool leader Madan Mitra, who often hit headlines for wrong reasons including Saradha Scam, has been made candidate by Mamata Banerjee for the Kamarhati seat. Fates of candidates and several stalwarts including Mamata Banerjee herself has been already decided. Elections are over in 135 of the 294 assembly seats in the state. While 45 segments would elect their representative on Saturday, the polling in the remaining 114 seats would be decided in three remaining phases. Officials said security had been beefed up for Saturday's polls as, during the April 10 polling, five people lost their lives in Cooch Behar district in north Bengal. Of them four died in firing by central security forces. A big-time row has been triggered since then with BJP leaders blaming Trinamool goons for the happening, while Trinamool has tried to direct its tirade against the central forces. On Wednesday and Thursday, a video went viral in social and electronic media that showed the CISF personnel had to open fire after 'goons' had attacked the polling booth and banged the doors. Importantly, out of the 45 seats going to the polls, 21 are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). The BJP had won seven of the eight Lok Sabha seats in north Bengal in 2019 giving Trinamool a major shock. An estimated 25 per cent of Gorkhas in West Bengal can influence at least 55 seats across West Bengal. Home Minister Amit Shah has stated that once BJP takes charge in West Bengal, the long-pending 'Gorkhaland issue' would be addressed and the Gorkhas would no longer need to agitate to get their demands fulfilled.
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