As the high-octane poll battle for the West Bengal polls heats up, the polling for the fifth phase will take place on Saturday between 7 am and 6 pm. There are 319 candidates including 39 women in the fray for the 45 constituencies going to the polls. They are spread across 6 districts- Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and Purba Bardhaman. In this phase, BJP and TMC are fielding candidates in all the seats. From the Sanjukta Morcha, CPI(M), Congress and ISF are fielding candidates in 19, 7 and three seats each.
When elections were held in 2016, TMC, Congress-Left alliance and GJM won 32, 10 and 3 of these seats respectively. However, BJP is looking to make substantial inroads buoyed by its performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls where it led in 22 of these Assembly segments. These seats are Dhupguri, Maynaguri, Jalpaiguri, Rajganj, Dabgram-Fulbari, Mal, Nagrakata, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Kurseong, Matigara-Naxalbari, Siliguri, Phansidewa, Santipur, Ranaghat Uttar Purba, Ranaghat Uttar Paschim, Ranaghat Dakshin, Santipur, Krishnaganj, Chakdaha, Kalyani, Haringhata, Panihati, Kamarhati, Baranagar, Dum Dum, Rajarhat New Town, Bidhannagar, Rajarhat Gopalpur, Madhyamgram, Barasat, Deganga, Haroa, Minakhan, Sandeshkhali, Basirhat Dakshin, Basirhat Uttar, Hingalghat, Khandaghosh, Bardhaman Dakshin, Raina, Jamalpur, Monteswar. Kalna, Memari, Bardhaman Uttar. After the completion of the remaining three phases, the counting of votes is scheduled for May 2.
Actor, director and playwright Bratya Basu is seeking re-election from this seat which falls under the Dum Dum Lok Sabha constituency. At present, he holds the portfolios of Science and Technology and Biotechnology in the West Bengal Cabinet. He beat Palash Das of the CPI(M) in 2016 garnering 81,579 votes. While CPI(M) has re-nominated Palash Das, BJP has given the ticket to Bimal Shankar Nanda.
Falling under the Dum Dum Lok Sabha segment, Kamarhati is a part of the North 24 Parganas district. The result in this constituency assumes great significance as TMC heavyweight Madan Mitra is contesting from here. The former Sports and Transport Minister spent over 21 months in prison over his alleged involvement in the Saradha scam case. While he lost this seat to Manash Mukherjee of CPI(M) in the previous election by a narrow margin of 4198 votes, the Mamata Banerjee-led party has reposed faith in him. BJP's Anindya Banerjee and CPI(M)'s Sayandeep Mitra are the other main contenders.
Tapas Roy, Minister of State of Planning and Statistics, is looking forward to continuing his winning streak here which started in 2011. In the previous election, he trounced his nearest rival Sukumar Ghosh of RSP by 16,100 votes. However, his road to re-election has hit a hurdle in the form of Parno Mitra. The actor-turned-politician will make her political debut in Baranagar on a BJP ticket. She played a key role in the 2011 National Award-winning Bengali film Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbona.
West Bengal BJP chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya, who has served as the Basirhat Dakshin MLA in the past is vying for election from Rajarhat Gopalpur this time. He is pitted against popular singer Aditi Munsi who is contesting on a TMC ticket. Incumbent TMC MLA Purnendo Bose won this seat by a margin of 6,874 votes in the last Assembly polls. In the 2011 election, he had trounced the sitting CPI(M) legislator Rabindranath Mondal by 35,725 votes.
Senior TMC leader Goutam Deb is vying for a third straight term from this seat which falls in the Jalpaiguri district. At present, he is the Tourism Minister in the West Bengal government. CPI(M) has fielded Dilip Singh who unsuccessfully contested against Deb both in 2011 and 2016. On the other hand, BJP has given the ticket to Sikha Chatterjee.