New Delhi: Voting for the second phase of the West Bengal assembly elections took place on Thursday (April 1). This phase saw the hotly contested Nandigram constituency go to polls, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is fighting her friend-turned rival Suvendu Adhikari, who recently quit TMC to join BJP.
Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on Thursday took the viewers through the events of the polling day, narrating how the battle of Nandigram was fought and what the high voter turnout means for West Bengal elections.
As many would have expected, violent clashes were seen at different polling booths in Nandigram since morning.
The convoy of Suvendu Adhikari was attacked. The car he was sitting in was pelted with stones. Adhikari had a narrow escape. He alleged that the attack was carried out by Mamata Banerjee's supporters.
On the other hand, Banerjee was seen going to different polling booths in Nandigram and talking to people.
On reaching one of the polling booths, Banerjee alleged that there was a "total breakdown of law and order at the polling booth". She said that non-Bangla speaking "outsiders" were creating ruckus in the area.
She claimed to have lodged 63 poll-related complaints during the day and alleged that no action has been taken by the Election Commission on it.
She even called West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar from the polling booth and complained to him about the election disturbances.
All through the day, Suvendu and Mamata were seen mounting verbal attacks on each other.
Does the high voter turnout signal 'poriborton'?
By 4 pm more than 70 per cent voting had been recorded in Nandigram. And by 5 pm, this figure crossed 80 per cent.
The reports from the ground suggest that there has been intense polarization of Hindu and Muslim votes in this election, which has significantly increased the chances of Suvendu's victory.
Until recently, Suvendu was a part of Mamta Banerjee's team. He won from Nandigram seat in 2016 by a huge margin of 87 thousand votes, bagging 67 per cent of the total votes cast.
Earlier, Nandigram was considered a stronghold of left parties. But the picture changed from 2006 and TMC has dominated this seat since then.
Even in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, when the BJP surprised everyone by winning 18 out of 42 seats, TMC secured 63 per cent votes in Nandigram.
This indicates that Banerjee does have a stronghold over this seat. However, the situation is different this time. This time Banerjee is facing Suvendu, who himself has a large following in the constituency.
A turnout of over 80 per cent shows that it is not going to be an easy fight for Banerjee. This could also mean that a "poriborton" may be in the offing at the state level.