Kolkata: Eighteen seats in Maoist-affected areas in West Bengal will go to Assembly polls on Monday in the first of the six-phase elections.
133 candidates will try their luck from the constituencies falling under the districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. Out of these, 13 have been roughly classified as Left Wing Extremism-affected areas by the Election Commission where voting will end early by 4 pm due to security reasons.
In the remaining five constituencies of Purulia, Manbazar, Kashipur, Para and Raghunathpur voting will go on for two hours extra till 6 pm. The ruling Trinamool Congress has been highlighting how peace has returned in the Maoist-hotbed Junglemahal area.
It finds a mention even in the 'Trinamool anthem' song in Bengali which is being played across TV channels, radio stations and even through social media. The last 2011 assembly polls, which ended the 34-year-long rule of the Left, had Trinamool and Congress on the same side.
The Congress, which broke its alliance later on, has forged alliance with the Left. The Left-Congress alliance has been a subject of mockery for both the BJP and the Trinamool.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called this alliance an "unholy" one while Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended an election rally in Kharagpur town, mocked at it saying "dosti (friendship) in Bengal and kushti (wrestling) in Kerala"....