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Friday, May 08, 2009

17 down, 11 to go

That is how the harried poll-managers stationed in the state must be thinking after yesterdays violence stricken polling in Nandigram went underway. They must be genuinely itching to pack their bags and head home at the earliest given the politically charged atmosphere in these hamlets of industrial disuse. Singur being the twin brother was uncharacteristically "quiet" on poll-day which further stokes fears of a bloodbath in the event of electoral setback for one party or the other when the results are declared. If Nandigram was any indication the later phase of polling will see a re-run of the "There will be blood"-routine in many other parts of the state. Political opponents are keeping their fingers crossed and bombs handy for any eventuality. If the CPI(M) wins there will be, in all possibility, a political witch-hunt unseen in its ferocity in rural Bengal or for that matter anywhere in the country. And in case the Trinamool-Congress combine wrest the initiative, the Left will have finally ceded ground in one of their strongest bastions. Whatever be the outcome there will not be any graceful losers this time around for too much is at stake.

This morning, all newspapers report an impressive 75% voter turn-out in the state - beating the national average by a good margin. In other states it would have meant the anti-incumbency factor at work but not here. Though the Trinamool Congress seems certain of partially stalling the CPI(M) 's vaunted voting-machinery one cannot be so sure till the results come out on the 16th.
Come 13th and it will be Kolkata's turn to make it count and I hope people come out in large numbers to vote - that the bangali bhodrolok finally overcomes his ennui and 'make his mark' early in the morning than let the mid-day sun intimidate him into inaction (like always).

In other news, I yesterday heard a seasoned Leftist hollering about, among their other achievements, how they catapulted West Bengal to the No.1 spot in both agriculture and industry. The jaywalker in me balked at such misinformation in the name of campaigning but the sight of hundreds of others turning a deaf ear to such pre-poll bragging quickly made me realize how the city dweller ignores all that's irrelevant and potentially dilatory to his plans of reaching home early. Politics can wait till one returns home and sits around a fresh brew of tea and friends when it can gladly resurface to make for a round of entertaining and informative political adda. Not before that should it figure in their minds.