Bengal may be on the doorstep of a historic election that has taken the entire state in its grip, but Cooch Behar Town, about 700 km to the north of Kolkata, has remained largely calm, though polling is slated for April 18.
A visit to this historic town and adjoining constituencies like Cooch Behar (south), Dinhata, Natabari and Sitai reveals that election campaign is still in a lukewarm stage.
Wall graffiti, banners, posters, festoons and flexes of political parties have been almost absent. Rallies have also gone largely unattended.
"Cooch Behar is always a quiet town. People like to be left alone and want to avoid saying anything controversial. You will hardly see long festoons of political parties though the first phase elections are only a couple of weeks away," said K Mukherjee, a local.
Marking professional with a private company Santanu Nag, said, "Our town is not visually polluted with hoarding like Kolkata. You will find graffiti in some places but no banners, posters or party flags."
Voters displayed little interest and enthusiasm when political parties brought out processions. May be the ICC World Cup was to be blamed when HT visited the town as India was playing Pakistan in Mohali. Not surprising when Congress candidate Zalil Ahmed started a door-to-door campaign, only 20 to 30 supporters turned up.
The tricolour was flying proudly and cutouts, photos of Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni, Yuvraj dominated. Even young boys in rural areas were getting the tricolour painted on faces.
An early winner in the graffiti race was Forward Bloc candidate Abhoy Thakur. The Trinamool presence is negligible. The sight is similar in Alipurduar in Jalpaiguri district. Flexes, banners and party flags were noticeably absent on the 35-km stretch between Cooch Behar Town and Alipurduar where PWD minister Kshiti Goswami is up against DP Roy of the Congress.