As the sun set on the city on Wednesday, Mamata Banerjee said there shouldn't be any reason to doubt that the people of the city have voted for change after experiencing the misrule of the Left Front government for more than three decades.
Exuding confidence, Banerjee said that Trinamool Congress should sweep the city and capture 10 of the 11 seats up for grabs. Trinamool poll managers say that the only exception may be Kolkata Port, where six-time Congress MLA from Kabitirtha Ram Pyare Ram is contesting as an Independent against the Trinamool and CPI(M) candidates after the former bagged the seat and the Congress denied him a ticket, is a major obstacle in the Trinamool's path.
"Ram Pyare Ram is definitely the X factor. But then with the Mamata wave sweeping the state, anything can happen," said Congress leader Sukhendu Shekhar Ray.
The confidence in the Trinamool rank and file stems from the fact that in the 2009 parliamentary elections and the subsequent civic polls, the party won both the Lok Sabha seats and secured a majority of the 142 wards in the metro.
"It is going to be a cakewalk for the Trinamool in the city," said former mayor and Trinamool's Ballygunge candidate Subrata Mukherjee.
Post delimitation, the character of many seats in the North and South Kolkata has undergone a significant change. New wards have been added to the assembly seats of Chowringhee, Kolkata Port, Bhowanipore and Rashbehari. And there has also been a demographic change in the Tollygunge seat.
Trinamool leaders believe that although the Rashbehari seat has been with the Congress since 1982, over the last two terms Trinamool's Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay has won the seat and is most likely to retain it.
Tollygunge has also been a traditional seat of the Congress and the Trinamool. The seat earlier belonged to Pankaj Banerjee. But this time sitting MLA Arup Biswas is taking on the CPI(M). "In the 2009 parliamentary elections, Mamata Banerjee, then MP from south Kolkata had taken a whopping lead in all the assembly segments. And we expect to maintain the winning trend," said Dinesh Trivedi, Trinamool MP.
In 1971-72, Subrata Mukheree won the Ballygunge assembly seat. From 1977 to 2001, the seat remained with the CPI(M). Former Left Front chief whip in the assembly Rabin Deb was the last CPI(M) MLA of the seat before Trinamool's Javed Khan defeated him. Mukherjee is contesting the seat this time and confident of victory.
In north Kolkata, CPI(M) leaders are hoping for a positive harvest at Entally and Jorasanko. However, the sense in the Trinamool camp is that barring the Entally seat, which is slightly doubtful, all other seats are sure winners.
Trinamool is also optimistic of a positive harvest at Belgachhia-Cossipore."Belgachhia-Cossipore is a Trinamool seat. Mala Saha is the sitting MLA. Here the Trinamool has a clear advantage over the CPI(M)," said Trinamool's Sadhan Pande.
As Trinamool's backroom boys and leaders rejoiced for what they think is sure bet for them in the city, the party chief has set sights on Hooghly to campaign for the fourth phase.