Voting begins in all four municipal corporations Siliguri, Bidhannagar, Chandannagar, and Asansol on Saturday with COVID-19 protocols in place. Voting has started at 7 am and will continue till 5 pm. The counting will be held on February 14.
Voters queue up outside the polling booth as polling begins for West Bengal civic elections. The thermal checking and sanitization of voters are being done before voting. The heavy police force has been deployed at every polling booth, polling is being conducted with tight security. Naka checking is also going on and patrolling is also being done in the river by boat. Many policemen have been deployed during the elections.
In Bidhannagar, a total of 203 candidates are contesting in 41 wards, while in Siliguri, there are 201 contestants in 47 wards while Asansol has 106 wards for which a total of 430 candidates are contesting. There are a total of 33 wards in Chandannagar, but due to the sudden death of the BJP candidate of ward number 17, the election to that ward is postponed. So the elections are being held in 32 wards in Chandannagar.
In Siliguri, the number of voters are 4,02,897 of which 1,98,899 female, 2,03,979, and 18 are third from gender. Siliguri is the only civic body in the state which was run by the Left-Front for the last five years during the tenure of the Trinamool Congress-led government.
Among the senior politician's former state minister Goutam Deb of Trinamool Congress, Siliguri BJP MLA Sankar Ghosh, former Siliguri Mayor, and veteran CPI-M leader Asok Bhattacharya are contesting the polls. Sabyasachi Dutta, former Bidhannagar Mayor of TMC, who had joined BJP during the Assembly elections and was returned back to TMC after the result of the election, is also contesting the polls from Ward no 31 from Bidhannagar.
Meanwhile, on Friday, a fresh row sparked in Trinamool Congress (TMC) over the "One Person, One Post" campaign after party leader and minister in Mamata Banerjee's government Chandrima Bhattacharya posted the slogan on her social media handle. However, she later claimed that the post was done by consultancy group I-PAC.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold an emergency meeting with senior leaders of her party on Saturday. The meeting will be held at Banerjee's Kalighat office at 5 pm. The civic polls were earlier slated to be held on January 22, 2022. However, the High Court has postponed the elections for 4-6 weeks, citing that the third wave of COVID-19 has hit the state and that the life of the residents of the state will be put to threat if the elections are held.