Four Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel led by an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of Dhubulia police station man the Charmahatpur Primary School with intimidating looks on their faces and chase away anyone without a voter identity card from the polling booth premises.
“What will I say? You know everything,” the ASI told this reporter when asked about heightened security concerns in this minority-dominated village along the river Jalangi.
Incidentally, the major contest in Charmahatpur is not between the ruling Trinamool Congress and arch-rivals CPI(M), but between the Trinamool and ultra-left CPI (ML)-Liberation.
The same scene could be witnessed in neighbouring Kalinagar as well.
Both Charmahatpur and Kalinagar come under Naupara gram panchayat that was ruled by the CPI (ML) - Liberation between 2003 and 2008. The panchayat came under the control of the CPI(M) in 2008.
This time, however, locals said that the CPI(M) and Congress, the only two other contesting parties in Charmahatpur, have put up weaker candidates to ensure defeat of the ruling party candidate.
“When the CP I(ML)Liberation was in power, they distributed the river banks among villagers. But after the change of guard in the state, the Trinamool has captured the banks and distributed them among their own supporters,” said an elderly villager, refusing to be named.
For most people in these villages, it is a fight to win back the riverbanks.
Most major seats in Nadia witnessed a triangular contest between the Trinamool, CPI(M) and Congress on Monday.
The BJP might spring up a few surprises in a number of seats as well.
Adding to the Trinamool’s woes is a battery of rebel party candidates, who are contesting as independents. Even minorities, who constitute more than 30% of the population in the district and are a deciding factor in major seats as Krishnanagar-II, Nakashipara, Kaliganj and Tehatta are evenly poised between the Congress and Trinamool.
The Congress, which has sizeable presence in Haringhata, Chakdah, Ranaghat and Chhapra, might tilt the results significantly. Political circles feel the division of antiLeft votes might actually benefit the CPI(M) in quite a few seats in these blocks.
This is the reason why most candidates are not willing to comment on their chances, and instead, are keeping their fingers crossed till counting day.