On the Ganga, It’s Mamata vs Mamata, Development vs Dabangai 

Will the politics of fear and intimidation hurt Mamata, or will her development record prevail?

2 min read
People on board a ferry, travelling to polling stations  in Kolkata. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

The ferry from Babughat in Kolkata to Howrah is filled with people who are on their way to cast their votes. For them, the election is not about the CPI(M), but choosing between Mamata Banerjee’s politics of fear and intimidation on the one hand, and her development record on the other.

Before noon, BJP candidate Rupa Ganguly (of Draupadi fame) was attacked near a polling booth in Howrah and footage of “unknown persons” stopping people from casting their votes became public. Tanmoy Bhattacharya, the CPI(M) candidate from North Dum Dum was also attacked by TMC workers. Will these incidents of violence and intimidation hurt Mamata?

TMC, CPI(M)-Congress Have 50-50 Chance

Sanjay Niyogi, an SBI employee in Kolkata refuses to tell us who he will vote for. But he does say that the CPI(M)-Congress alliance and the TMC have a “50-50 chance”of coming to power.

Sanjay Niyogi. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Sanjay Niyogi. (Photo: The Quint)

But why such bad odds for Mamata, just five years after her resounding victory against 34 years of CPI(M) rule in the state?

The CPI(M) took 34 years to degenerate into a gunda party. TMC has beaten them in that regard. It’s not as though no work has happened. Kolkata isn’t London, but there has been development. But then again, Sharada and Narada have also happened.
Sanjay Niyogi, SBI employee

Hooliganism and Erudition: The Past and Present

BN Dey, a retired engineer who divides his time between Kolkata and Pune is on the ferry too, on his way to cast his vote. He is not a fan of Mamata Banerjee and the TMC because he feels, they lack educated administrators.

BN Dey. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
BN Dey. (Photo: The Quint)
The left had a significant lumpen element too. That’s why I voted for Mamata last time. Now, the TMC is run by these people, criminals. The CPI(M) at least had at their core educated and erudite people. The TMC is a completely gunda party.
BN Dey, Retired Engineer

But has this anti-TMC sentiment trickled down beyond the bhadralok, educated middle-class?

Rajat Mishra, a waiter in a restaurant in Park Street doesn’t think so.

Rajat Mishra. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Rajat Mishra. (Photo: The Quint)
Didi has done great work. Roads, electricity, schools are all better. Who cares about Sharada and Narada if she works for the people?
Rajat Mishra, Waiter

Didi’s supporters are clearly vocal, her opponents circumspect. It is difficult though to assume from their cryptic answers and silences which way votes will swing.

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