Cooch Behar set for political showdown with PM Modi & CM Mamata Banerjee’s rallies today

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Kolkata: West Bengal’s Cooch Behar is all set to witness high-octane election campaigning today with scheduled rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here at this crucial Lok Sabha constituency.

The Trinamool Congress supremo is scheduled to hold a rally at Cooch Behar at around noon, and the PM will address a rally here at Rasleela ground at around 3pm, both venues being just 30 kms apart.

Cooch Behar is among the Bengal’s three Lok Sabha seats going to witness voting in the first phase on April 19.

Why is Cooch Behar crucial for BJP and TMC?

The Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency has recently witnessed clashes between supporters of the incumbent BJP MP and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nisith Pramanik, and TMC leader and state minister Udayan Guha, turning it into a battleground of prestige as both the parties.

Pramanik, renominated as the Lok Sabha candidate, is facing Jagadish Barma Basunia from TMC, representing the Rajbanshi community and the sitting MLA of Sitai.

Earlier, a stronghold of the Left Front partner, Forward Bloc, for 32 years from 1977 to 2009, Cooch Behar is now a BJP stronghold, where the saffron party secured five of the seven assembly segments, despite TMC’s significant victory in the 2021 assembly elections.

TMC had won the seat in 2014 and 2016 during a by-election following the demise of incumbent MP Renuka Sinha.

Ahead of today’s rally in Cooch Behar, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee demanded Prime Minister Modi to release a white paper regarding the funds disbursed to West Bengal under Awas Yojna and MGNREGA from 2021, following their defeat in the assembly polls.

A prestige battle for Nisith Pramanik and Udayan Guha

Dinhata, the hometown of both Pramanik and Guha, has been a hotspot of political violence over the years, with both leaders trying to maintain dominance on their home turf. The clashes at Dinhata Bazar on March 19, involving supporters of both sides, led to police intervention and a visit by Governor CV Ananda Bose to the site of violence.

Today’s rally in Cooch Behar is PM Modi’s first rally in the state after the announcement of the poll schedule by the Election Commission on March 16. Prior to the EC’s announcement, the PM had addressed four rallies in West Bengal.

PM Modi rally in Bihar Jamui today

PM Modi will kickstart the NDA’s poll campaign in Bihar today with a rally, his first in the state, at Jamui. The Jamui Lok Sabha seat fell in the kitty of the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), headed by Chirag Paswan, who is the sitting MP from the seat. The party this time has fielded his brother-in-law Arun Bharti from Jamui for the polls while Chirag will contest from his father and former Union minister late Ram Vilas Paswan’s bastion of Hajipur.

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