Parties tense as Bengal poll result countdown beginsMay 11th, 2011 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, May 11 (IANS) An air of suspense hung over the headquarters of West Bengal’s ruling Marxists and the Kalighat residence of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee here Wednesday, two days before votes cast in elections to the state assembly are counted.
The just-concluded polls are being generally regarded as the stiffest challenge for the Left Front that has been ruling for 34 years - the world’s longest-serving communist-led government in a multi-party democratic system - against a determined charge of the opposition Trinamool Congress-Congress combine.
The results of the six-phase elections will be out Friday.
The atmosphere was calm at Muzaffar Ahmed Bhawan in Allimuddin Street, the headquarters of Left Front spearhead Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
A handful of scribes and security officials formed a small crowd outside the main gate.
The single question doing the rounds was “Will the Left be able to make a comeback for another term?”
The securitymen posted at the building for several years also seemed curious about the exit polls results, an overwhelming majority of which have claimed that the Left Front will be decimated.
CPI-M politburo member and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee paid his usual morning visit to the party office and left at 12.45 p.m. While boarding his car, Bhattacharjee smiled at the journos but declined to speak.
“Accha ki hobe dada, jitbe mone hoi era (What will happen sir, do you think they (Left Front) will win),” asked an inquisitive security official who has been posted at the headquarters since 2008 and has witnessed the debacle of the Left Front in 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
“Exit poll to bolchee era harbe, kintu era to exit poll ke bhul bolche (Exit polls are saying that they (Left Front) will lose, but they are saying exit polls are wrong),” answered another securityman.
CPI-M leaders like Shyamal Chakraborty and Mohammed Salim either remained tightlipped or slammed the exit poll results.
The mood at Mamata Banerjee’s residence in south Kolkata’s Kalighat area - the de-facto nerve centre of Trinamool Congress - was more upbeat. Banerjee’s neighbours were confident that their 55-year-old neighbour’s party will win.
“Amra ar dudin bade mukhyomantrir protibeshi hobo (After two days, we will be the neighbours of the chief minister),” said a youth in his twenties.
The security guards and railway police personnel were on their toes, while a handful of scribes waited anxiously for Banerjee.
Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy and city Mayor Sovan Chatterjee called on their leader at noon and chatted with the scribes, but skirted queries about the results.
The party workers, who are seen in the house almost round-the-clock, were busy arranging chairs on the open space outside the house for the ever increasing media contingent and party supporters.
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