Elections are over on more than 500 seats now and the lone day left for polls is May 12 when the only constituency drawing all the attention will be Varanasi for obvious reasons.
But there are a few other constituencies where the fight is equally thrilling if not the candidates that hyped. West Bengal has been in news this election season, much because of Modi-Didi spat and less for the exciting contest it is witnessing this time. North Kolkata is the constituency witnessing the most unpredictable and interesting electoral battle in Bengal.
Trinmool Congress (TMC) has renominated its sitting MP Sudip Bandopadhay while Congress has fielded vetran leader and the rebel from TMC—Soman Mitra who joined Congress after his differences with Mamata Banerjee. The other candidates in the fray are BJP state president Rahul Sinha and Rupa Bagchi of CPI-M.
Sudip won this seat in 2009 by a little less than 10,00,00 votes but this time he is facing a tough multi cornered battle. The most significant factor is Somen's crossover from TMC to Congress. Somen is one of the few leaders in Congress with a huge mass following and has won nine elections in his political career so far with just one defeat in his hand. This time he is eyeing a tenth win on a Congress ticket.The current equations, however, gives a lead to the Trinmool candidate as all the five assembly seats of this constituency are in their box. Also, the fact that Sudip is the sitting MP adds to the advantage.
The equations are projected to see a change as Congress candidate will cut into TMC's vote bank that too in a good chunk. Many TMC party workers who were unhappy with Didi and the incumbent MP Sudip Upadhay have joined hands with Somen and are rigorously campaigning for him. Thus TMC has lost a substantial ground in the constituency for sure.
On the other hand, the presence of BJP can not be ignored this time. With 'Modi wave' picking momentum, the BJP has a renewed lifeline that has boosted morals of its party workers who are holding road shows, door to door campaigning and public meetings every now and then.
BJP'S vote share in 2009 general elections was just 4.6% but surveys are showing a good increase in their vote share this elections. With TMC and Congress weakened due to inner fights and anti incumbency respectively, there are good chances of BJP's Rahul Sinha winning on May 16. Traditionally, BJP has always eyed Kolkata North as BJP and RSS both have their regional headquarters in this constituency only. With Marwari, Jaiswal, Bihari and Kalwar voters intact in their favour BJP is hoping to get on the Bank sailing on Modi wave this time.
But one can never forget the left in Bengal. There are talks about division of anti-left votes among TMC, Congress and the BJP. If it really happens, CPI-M candidate Rupa Bagchi may trump her heavy weight opponents. Most of the left leaders who are seeking a revival of their party in the state are heavily relying on anti-left vote getting divided, so unclear who will triumph on the counting day.