BJP's national vice president Mukul Roy is among 306 candidates who will contest 43 constituencies in the sixth phase of the Bengal Assembly elections today.
Mr Roy is contesting the Krishnanagar Uttar seat in Nadia district against actor Koushani Mukherjee - his former party Trinamool's candidate - and the Congress's Sylvie Saha.
A Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP before he quit the party in 2017, this is the second time Mr Roy is contesting an election. He had lost the poll when he contested an Assembly seat in 2001.
Mukul Roy's son Subhranshu Roy, a former Trinamool MLA, is also contesting on a BJP ticket from his seat Bijpur in North 24 Parganas district.
Two senior ministers in the Mamata Banerjee government, both also from North 24 Parganas district, will have their fates sealed today. Chandrima Bhattacharya, minister of state for health, is taking on incumbent CPI-M MLA Tanmoy Bhattacharya and BJP's Archana Majumdar in the Dum Dum Uttar constituency. Jyotipriya Mallik, the food and civil supplies minister, is facing veteran BJP leader Rahul Sinha in Habra. Mr Sinha was banned from campaigning for 48 hours for controversial comments on the Sitalkuchi central forces firing that left 4 people dead on April 10.
Other key contests in North 24 Parganas include the fight for Barrackpore, where noted film director-producer Raj Chakraborty is contesting on a Trinamool ticket. His BJP rival is Chandramani Shukla, father of the late BJP youth leader Manish Shukla, who was gunned down in October last year.
At least two 'turncoats' from Trinamool are also fighting from the district. Former Barrackpore MLA Silbhadra Dutta is contesting on a BJP ticket from nearby Khardah constituency. Trinamool's former MLA from Santipur in Nadia, Arindam Bhattacharya, has been fielded from Jagatdal.
The Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh of the BJP has a hold over this belt. This belt is also violence-prone; 107 companies of central forces have been deployed here.
In Uttar Dinajpur district's Raiganj, the Trinamool has fielded Kanaia Lal Agarwal against sitting Congress MLA Mohit Sengupta. Krishna Kalyani is the BJP's candidate in the constituency.
Bengal minister Mohammad Ghulam Rabbani will take on BJP's Gulam Sarwar and Congress's Masud Nasim Ehsan in Goalpokhar seat. Md Rabbani was among several candidates who tested Covid positive during the campaign.
In the Purbasthali Dakshin constituency, the Congress has fielded Abhijit Bhattacharya against Trinamool's animal husbandry minister Swapan Debnath.
The 43 constituencies are spread over four districts – Uttar Dinajpur, Purba Bardhaman, Nadia and North 24 Parganas.
The Trinamool and the BJP are contesting all the 43 seats in the sixth phase. The Congress, Left and the Indian Secular Front are contesting the assembly polls in alliance.
In the sixth phase, over 1.03 crore voters, including 50.65 lakh women, will cast their votes at 14,480 polling stations.
Voting for the remaining two phases will take place on April 26 and April 29.
Counting will be held on May 2.