Kolkata, May 16 (IANS) With the Election Commission curtailing the campaigning time by invoking the Constitution's Article 324 for the first time, canvassing ended at 10 p.m. on Thursday in nine parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal that will vote in the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 19.
The political parties re-scheduled and wound up big rallies, road shows, street corner meetings and last minute door-to-door contact with voters that had reached a peak over the past couple of days in Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata South and Kolkata North constituencies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, the party's celebrity candidates Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury were among the star campaigners.
Shah's roadshow in the heart of the city on Tuesday faced strong protests from Trinamool's student union members as the procession crossed the College Street area. The clash between activists of the two parties led to violence and vandalism following which the poll panel on Wednesday stepped in to curtail the campaigning.
An electorate of around 1,49,10,643 will decide the fate of 111 candidates in the nine seats.
Chief Minister's nephew cum sitting MP Abhishek Banerjee, former Kolkata Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, MP Sudip Bandopadhyay, BJP's former state President Rahul Sinha, celebrity candidates Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty are among the star candidates in this phase.
According to an analysis done by the West Bengal Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms, 30 candidates have assets worth over Rs 1 crore and 23 have declared criminal cases against themselves.
In 2014, Trinamool had won all the nine seats but this time BJP is giving them a strong fight.