Eight Lok Sabha constituencies spread across five districts in West Bengal will go to polls in the sixth phase of general elections on Sunday.
The ruling Trinamool Congress, the Bhartiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Left Front constituents - the CPI(M), the CPI and the AIFB - are the main contenders in the eight seats, where the fate of 83 candidates will be decided by a 1,33,69,749-strong electorate.
In this phase, polling will be held in Jangal Mahal - the forested region of Bankura, West Midnapore, Jhargram and Purulia districts, which used to be a Maoist hotbed, during the erstwhile Left Front government.
To ensure free and fair polling in Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram (ST), Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur (SC) constituencies, the Election Commission will deploy a total of 770 companies of central forces, which will cover almost 100 per cent of the 15,428 polling booths, EC officials said.
All the eight seats covering four Jangal Mahal districts and East Midnapore, will see mostly a four-cornered contest between the Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Congress and the Left Front.
The Bankura seat will witness a triangular fight because the Congress did not put up any candidate there.
The campaign saw poll meetings by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and her Andhra Pradesh counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu.
Banerjee also participated in a number of roadshows. In the Tamluk seat, the BJP has fielded Siddhartha Shankar Naskar against sitting TMC MP Dibyendu Adhikari. The Left Front constituent CPI(M) has nominated Sk Ibrahim Ali, while the Congress has nominated Lakshman Seth, who was earlier in CPI(M).
In Kanthi, TMC MP Sisir Adhikari is contesting against BJP's Dr debasis Samanta. The Congress has nominated Deepak Kumar Das and the CPI(M) nominated Paritosh Pattanayak.
In the Ghatal Lok Sabha seat, TMC's sitting candidate Deepak Adhikari (actor Dev), will lock horns with BJP's Bharati Ghosh, a former IPS officer. The Congress has nominated Khandakar Md Saifullah and the Left Front constituent CPI has nominated Tapan Ganguli.
In the Jhargram (ST) seat, TMC's Birbaha Soren (Tudu) will contest against Kunar Hembram of BJP. The Congress has fielded Jageswar Hembram and the CPI(M)'s candidate is Deblina Hembram.
Manas Ranjan Bhunia is TMC's candidate from the Medinipur seat and he is contesting against BJP's state president Dilip Ghosh. The Congress has nominated Sambhunath Chattopadhyay, while the Left Front constituent CPI has fielded Biplab Bhatta.
In Purulia, sitting MP Mriganka Mahato of the TMC will contest against BJP's Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato. The Left Front constituent All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) has nominated Bir Singh Mahato and the Congress has fielded Nepal Mahato.
In Bankura, TMC's Subrata Mukherjee will contest against Dr Subhas Sarkar of the BJP. The CPI(M) has fielded Amiya Patra.
This seat will witness a triangular contest. Shyamal Santra of the TMC will contest from Bishnupur (SC) seat against BJP's Saumitra Khan. The CPI(M) has nominated Sunil Khan and the Congress has fielded Narayan Chandra Khan from there.
Besides general election observers and expenditure observers, the poll panel has, for the first time, deployed a special police observer and a special observer.
In another first, VVPATs will be used in all thepolling booths along with the EVMs, EC sources said.