The last phase of the Lok Sabha polls in 17 seats in West Bengal on May 12 would be crucial for the Trinamool Congress which would seek to retain the 14 seats it had won in 2009.
Prominent among the 188 candidates are TMC's Sudip Bandyopadhyay in Kolkata North, Dinesh Trivedi in Barrackpore and Sougata Roy in Dum Dum, besides celebrities like Dipak Adhikari (Dev) in Ghatal and Tapas Paul in Krishnagar.
Trinamool Yuva President Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of Mamata Banerjee, is also a candidate to watch out. CPI-M's Subhasini Ali is fighting from the Barrackpore seat. BJP's candidate magician PC Sorcar (Junior) is contesting from Barasat while WBPCC President Adhir Chowdhury is fighting from Berhampore.
Also in the fray were former finance minister Asim Dasgupta of the CPI-M and former union minister Tapan Sikdar of the BJP in Dum Dum. The 17 Lok Sabha constituencies going to polls are Beharampore, Krishnagar, Ranaghat, Bongaon, Barrackpore, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata (South), Kolkata (North), Tamluk, Contai and Ghatal.
Of the 17 constituencies, the CPI(M) had lost all the seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, while the CPI, SUCI and the Congress won one seat each. The ruling Trinamool Congress had won 14 in 2009, while it had won only one seat in the 2004 general election.
In the 2011 assembly election, the TMC had made deep inroads in the assembly segments falling in these 17 seats covering the districts of Kolkata, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, East Midnapore and Nadia. An electorate of 2,55,75,744 would be eligible to vote.
Central paramilitary forces would be deployed at all the hyper-critical booths, while there would be web casting and videography.