Polling in two parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal-Cooch Behar and Alipurduar-is being held in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 11.
All eyes are on Cooch Behar where a fierce contest is expected between the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
A sense of tension has prevailed in this north Bengal constituency since the transfer of Cooch Behar superintendent of police by the Election Commission.
The transfer left the TMC, which is in powerin the state, red-faced.
The TMC called the removal of SP Abhishek Gupta biased and even asked the Election Commission to revoke its transfer order.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien penned a three-page letter to the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, alleging that the transfer order was passed at the “behest of the ruling party at the Centre (BJP).”
Security has also been heightened in Cooch Behar as residents fear violence on polling day. Over 300 poll personnel had earlier written a letter to the state chief electoral officer (CEO) and Returning Officer of the district to tighten security.
They demanded deployment of central forces in view of the violence seen during the last major election held in West Bengal.
The panchayat elections held in June 2018 in West Bengal saw widespread violence and many poll personnel were seriously injured, according to local reports.
In Cooch Behar, the BJP has fielded Nisith Pramanik, who was once a district functionary of the Youth Trinamool. Pramanik has a total of 11 criminal cases against him. Meanwhile, the TMC has fielded Paresh Adhikary, who was earlier a part of All India Forward Bloc.
The other constituency in the state that will vote on Thursday is Alipurduar, also known as the land of tea gardens.
The BJP, which has made significant strides in this constituency, has fielded John Barla, who was once the leader of Adivasi Vikas Parishad. He will take on TMC candidate Dasrath Tirkey.
In total, there are 3,844 polling stations for the two constituencies. While Cooch Behar has the larger share with 2,010, Alipurduar has 1,834 polling booths.
All eyes will be on both the Bengal constituencies, especially Cooch Behar, on Thursday.
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