Kolkata, Apr 9 : Curtain fell on the hustle-bustle of a month-long electioneering on Tuesday for the first phase of the seven-phase polling on April 11 in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Cooch Behar and Alipurduars in North Bengal.
This time the election steam ran high with the Election Commission (EC) taking a slew of stern measures for ensuring a smooth and fair polling.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), Indian National Congress (INC) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have fielded their candidates in both constituencies. In Cooch Behar, there are eleven contestants, including those from the mainstream parties such as AITC, BJP, All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and Congress are in the fray, but the main fight will be between TMC and BJP.
Trinamool Congress nominee Paresh Chandra Adhikary replaced incumbent MP Partha Pratim Ray in Coochbehar,, who won a byelection in 2016, humbling BJP's Hem Chandra Barman. The Left Front fielded All India Forward Bloc candidate Govind Chandra Rai, while the Congress fielded Piya Roychowdhury and BJP fielded Nisith Pramanik.
Cooch Behar constituency has historically elected candidates of the All India Forward Bloc. In 1999, Amrendranath Roy of the AIFB won the seat. The AIFB continued its winning streak in 2004 and 2009 elections too.
However in 2014, Renuka Roy of the Trinamool Congress won the seat. After her untimely death in 2016, the party won the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat in the bypoll with its candidate Parthapratim Roy drubbing his nearest rival Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Hemchandra Burman by a margin of 4.9 lakh votes and pushed Forward Bloc, a Left Front partner, to the third position.
Roy increased the party’s victory margin from 38,000 in 2014 to 4.9 lakh. As per the Election Commission data in 2019, total number of electorate in Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat is 18, 09, 598 of whom 9,40, 948 are male, 8, 68, 632 female and 18 third genders voters. A total number of 2010 polling stations would be set up for voting.
As per order of the Delimitation Commission in respect of the delimitation of constituencies in the West Bengal, parliamentary constituency no. 1 Cooch Behar, reserved for Scheduled castes (SC), is composed of the segments from 2009 such as Mathabhanga (SC), Coochbehar Uttar, Coochbehar Dakshin, Sitalkuchi (SC), Sitai (SC), Dinhata and Natabari.
In Alipurduars, there are seven contestants, including those from the mainstream parties such as AITC, BJP, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Congress, but the main fight will be between TMC and BJP.
The recent by-polls and the Panchayat election results have indicated a paradigm shift in the state politics with the saffron party emerging as the main Opposition to the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Dasrath Tirkey, who is currently the sitting MP from the Alipurduars constituency, will again contest from the same seat. He will fighting against Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) candidate Mili Orao, BJP candidate John Barla and Congress candidate Mohanlal Basumata. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, ruling Trinamool Congress candidate Dasrath Tirkey won this seat by a margin of 21,397 votes.
Tirkey got 3,62,453 votes, defeating her nearest rival Manohar Tirkey of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) got 3,41,056 votes. The BJP finished third in the table with its candidate Birendra Bara Oraon getting 3, 35,857 votes. Congress's Joseph Munda finished fourth with 1,16,718 votes and NOTA got 19,885 votes. UNI