Used to pulling things out of thin air and making entire buildings vanish, magician PC Sorcar Jr would be hoping he has a trick up his sleeve to get voters to crown him in this constituency where he faces, among others, two doctors, as many school teachers and also a carpenter.
One of the doctors in the fray is sitting TMC MP Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, a gynaecologist. She had won this seat in 2009 by a margin of over 1.2 lakh votes over her nearest Left candidate. The Left nominee this time is 69-year-old All India Forward Block leader Dr Mortoza Hossain, a general physician.
Incidentally, Hossain has a namesake in the fray here although the Independent candidate spells his name Morttaja Hosen. This second Morttaja is a school teacher by profession.
Making his electoral debut as a BJP candidate, Sorcar would be counting on the Narendra 'Modi wave'- which the party claims is sweeping the country- to propel him to Lok Sabha. Gujarat Chief Minister Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, has also campaigned here in favour of Sorcar. BJP, largely seen as being a marginal player in Bengal politics, is this time challenging the ruling TMC and the Left for a slice of the vote pie in the state. The party has roped in well-known names to contest on its behalf in Bengal and has handed tickets to the likes of music director Bappi Lahiri and singer Babul Supriyo, among others.
Justifying its decision to field celebrities, BJP state president Rahul Sinha had said, "This time the fight is between TMC and BJP in (Bengal). As they (TMC) have fielded so many celebrities, to counter that we have also fielded stars." Sorcar, who also holds a Ph.D in Applied Psychology, has claimed that he had read the public mind and was sure that voters are this time looking for change. He also uses the anti-incumbency card and claims that the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC is in for a rude shock when the results are declared on May 16.
Sorcar has held roadshows across the different localities of this constituency and even performed some quick tricks in response to the public's calls for him to "do magic".
But if Sorcar can boast that he can do 'magic' here to bring about a change for the better in this constituency, his TMC rival Ghosh Dastidar can claim she has a finger on the pulse of the public mood. The sitting MP, who has a medical degree from the UK, claims that as a physician, she has always enjoyed a connect with the public. She further averred that, as a politician, she was "merely extending that role (of a doctor) to serve people in another way".
All India Forward Bloc leader Dr Hossain would be counting on the traditional Left supporters here. Hossain had contested the 2011 Assembly polls from the Deganga seat, one of the segments under the Barasat Lok Sabha seat, but lost to the TMC candidate by about 17,000 votes. The Congress candidate is another UK-educated individual, lawyer Riju Ghosh.
Among the other candidates in the fray here are BSP's Sukumar Bala, a school teacher, and SUCI's P C Ghosh. There is also a carpenter trying his luck in the Lok Sabha polls, Independent candidate Bikash Hazra. There are about 15 lakh voters in this parliamentary seat which is made up of seven Assembly segments, all of which TMC swept in the 2011 elections in the state.
Although the main challenge to Ghosh Dastidar is expected to come from Dr Hossain, it is her rivalry with Sorcar which hogged headlines ahead of voting on May 12. An FIR was registered against Sorcar upon a complaint by Ghosh Dastidar alleging that he had made disparaging remarks against Mamata on the campaign trail.