Counting Begins For Mamata Banerjee’s Must-Win By-Election: 10 Points

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There will be 21 rounds of counting of votes in the Bhabanipur constituency. (File)

Kolkata: Counting of votes is underway for the by-election held in Bhabanipur, a south Kolkata legislative constituency, that Mamata Banerjee has to win to remain West Bengal Chief Minister, having lost the seat she fought in state polls earlier this year.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. The Chief Minister has had to contest the by-poll because, despite her own party’s tremendous victory in the assembly polls held this March-April, she could not win from Nandigram. The BJP put up a tough fight there through its recruit Suvendu Adhikari, a confidante-turned-foe of the Chief Minister.

  2. While the Trinamool Congress has claimed that the party chief will win by a margin of over 50,000 votes, the BJP, which fielded 41-year-old greenhorn Priyanka Tibrewal, claimed to have given a “very good fight”.

  3. The counting of votes will begin at 8 am today and the initial trends are expected to trickle down in the first hour itself. There will be 21 rounds of counting of votes in the Bhabanipur constituency.

  4. The poll body has arranged for a three-tier security system, called in 24 companies of central forces and have already deployed them at the counting centre.

  5. Voting on Thursday registered over 57 per cent polling, the Election Commission official said, in the constituency where over three lakh people were eligible to vote.

  6. Mamata Banerjee must win the elections to enter the state assembly before the end of her first six months as Chief Minister in this term.

  7. The bypoll in Bhabanipur was called following the resignation of Ms Banerjee’s party leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who stepped down to make way for her.

  8. With the BJP throwing its entire might to ensure another humiliation for the Chief Minister, many believed the contest may not necessarily be a cakewalk for her even though she lives there – her Kalighat residence is located in the constituency – and that she had won the seat twice, in 2011 and 2016.

  9. The BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal is also a long-time resident of the neighbourhood. Although she lost the recent Assembly polls and also the 2015 municipal polls, the Calcutta High Court lawyer has turned high profile, being one of the petitioners in the post-poll violence case against the state government.

  10. Besides Bhabanipur, votes will also be counted in two other constituencies – Murshidabad’s Samserganj and Jangipur seats – that saw a high turnout of 79.92 per cent and 77.63 per cent respectively. The elections were countermanded in these places after the deaths of two candidates.

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