The elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly will be held in 8 phases from March 27, the Election Commission of India announced on Friday. The counting of votes will be held on May 2.

The first phase of polling will be conducted on March 27. The second phase of polling will be held on April 1, third on April 6, fourth on April 10, fifth on April 17, sixth on April 22, seventh on April 26 and eighth on April 29.

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The term of the West Bengal legislative assembly is coming to an end in May. 

The last assembly election was held in 2016 and All India Trinamool Congress won 211 seats.  In 2011, TMC and Congress coalition won a majority and ended the 34-year rule of the Left Front government.

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using all its big leaders to campaign in the state. They have been targeting Mamata Banerjee-led government over alleged unemployment and lack of development. The state Chief Minister, calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘dangebaaz’, has urged the people to beware of the ‘saffron party’s plans’.

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As many as 125 companies of central forces will be deployed in West Bengal for the elections, reported PTI quoting Election Commission officials. The central armed police forces for the state will include 60 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 30 companies of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and five companies each of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), he said.

“The district-wise list of CAPF coys has been forwarded by the chief electoral officer of West Bengal.