Kolkata: The fourth phase of West Bengal (WB) assembly elections will prove a litmus test for Trinamool Congress (TMC) which is banking heavily on Singur and Nandigram.On Tuesday, the fourth phase of polling in the state will witness more than 1.26 crore people exercising their franchise for the 63 assembly seats of four districts including Howrah, Hooghly, East Medinapur and Burdwan.

Meanwhile, the assembly elections in these four districts will also serve as an opportunity to CPI (M) to hit back at TMC chief Mamata Banerjee who has been trying to cash in on the Singur and Nandigram uprisings.

A total of 366 candidates from different political parties will lock horns for 16 assembly seats of Howrah, 18 assembly seats of Hooghly, 16 assembly seats of East Medinapur and 13 assembly seats from Burdwan. The voting will be done at 15,711 polling centres of the four districts.

The main thrust of Congress-TMC in WB elections has been to topple the CPI (M) government which has been in power since the last 34 years. However, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is amused by Congress-TNC efforts to bring a change in the state.

CPI (M) heavyweights like State Industries Minister Nirupam Sen, Higher Education Minister Sudarshan Roy Chaudhary, Fire Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee, Food Processing Minister Mohanta Chatterjee, Minister of State for Information and Culture Soumendranath Bera, Technical Education Minister Chakradhar Maikap and Agriculture Minister Naren Dey are in the fray for the fourth phase. Both CPI (M) and TMC have also fielded few former IPS officers.

Security has been strengthened in the four districts to conduct free and fair elections. Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said that 618 paramilitary personnel along with more than 15, 000 police officers have been deployed at the polling centres.

In the fourth phase, the lowest nunber of electorates is 1.42 lakh for Howrah’s Bali assembly segment but there are as many as 13 candidates contesting for the seat. Chuchuda assembly seat of Hooghly district has 2.63 lakh voters and 327 polling centres, which is the highest number.

JPN/Bureau