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Notifications issued for first phase of Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal

Notification for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, covering three constituencies, was issued on Wednesday. The constituencies slated for the first phase are Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, and Alipurduar, all of which were clinched by the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Voting for these seats in the northern part of the state will be held on April 19.

The process for filing nominations by candidates for this phase began on Wednesday and it will continue till March 28, with the withdrawal deadline being April 2.

The Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, comprising 42 seats, will take place in seven phases from April 19 to June 1.

"The notifications were issued this morning. Till evening, only one nomination paper from the Jalpaiguri district was submitted," an official of the CEO's office said.

The Trinamool Congress has fielded Jagdish Chandra Basunia, Nirmal Chandra Roy, and Prakash Chik Barik as its candidates for the Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, and Alipurduar seats respectively.

Roy is currently serving as a TMC MLA from the Dhupguri assembly seat, while Barik is a Rajya Sabha MP.

The BJP, on the other hand, has nominated Nisith Pramanik, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs and incumbent MP, from the Cooch Behar constituency.

Manoj Tigga, the BJP chief whip in the West Bengal Assembly, has been chosen as the party candidate for the Alipurduar seat, replacing sitting MP and union minister John Barla.

The party is yet to announce its candidate for the Jalpaiguri seat.

The CPI(M) led Left Front, which is in talks with the Congress for an alliance has unilaterally announced candidates for the three seats.

Nitish Chandra Roy and Mili Oraon have been fielded by Left Front allies All India Forward Bloc and RSP for the Cooch Behar and Alipurduar seats respectively. The CPI(M) has nominated youth leader Debraj Barman for the Jalpaiguri seat, renowned for its verdant tea gardens.

The number of the electorate in West Bengal is 7.58 crore, comprising around 3.85 crore men and 3.73 crore women. The state has 15.25 lakh first-time voters.

Out of the 42 seats in the state, 10 are reserved for SC candidates and two for ST candidates.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the TMC secured victory in 22 seats, while the Congress claimed two, and the BJP emerged triumphant in 18.