India’s Only Female State Head Hinders Modi’s Win in West Bengal

(Bloomberg) -- Each day, Bloomberg journalists take you across a selection of towns and cities as they gear up for the big vote.

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Hello, I am Anup Roy, Bloomberg’s economy reporter in Mumbai. I grew up 20 kilometers north of Kolkata, the capital of the eastern state of West Bengal, in the storied Sreerampur constituency that is home to India’s first car factory and jute mill. A former Danish colony, Sreerampur has a rich history of education and industry. But dilapidated factories and ruins of old workshops dot the area now. The iconic Ambassador car factory, a symbol of Bengal’s illustrious industrial past, was shuttered and so were most of the jute mills. The constituency has favored firebrand leader Mamata Banerjee’s regional party since 2009. Banerjee, India’s only female chief minister, has successfully thwarted challenges mounted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, desperate to boost its tally in the state. Sreerampur is known to spring surprises, nevertheless, and a sizable migrant population may help Modi’s cause when voting is held on May 20.

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On Wednesday, Modi will hold a roadshow in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar suburb where 14 people were killed after a giant billboard collapsed during a sudden dust and rainstorm on Monday.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress party alleged that Modi has failed to deliver on his promises for Varanasi, including cleaning up the Ganges. The river, it said, became dirtier despite the government spending 200 billion rupees ($2.4 billion) on its rejuvenation.

Global Media

The Guardian reported about accusations that the BJP is using intimidation tactics in Indian elections.

Who Votes This Week?

India’s mammoth election runs through June 1, with counting scheduled for June 4. This map from the Election Commission of India shows which constituencies vote when.

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This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

--With assistance from Supriya Batra.

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