It was an examination for which they had been all waiting eagerly. While for some it was a test to retain power and pride, for others it was an opportunity to defeat their arch-rival. Like all students, they were a bundle of nerves.
While some fasted, others scurried from one polling station to another with just a packet of puffed rice. A few gulped down endless cups of tea to ease tension.
For all 71 candidates who took the poll exam from North Dinajpur on Monday, the daily routine seemed to have turned upside down. “I could hardly sleep. I woke up around 5.30 am, took a bath and went out with poll workers. I fasted throughout the day. In the evening, I will take a bowl of panta bhaat (fermented rice),” said Amal Acharya, the Trinamool Congress candidate from Itahar.
CPI candidate from Itahar and civil defence minister Srikumar Mukherjee woke up at 7.30 am. He chose to carry some dry food and drank lots of water. “I carried puffed rice, boiled grams, groundnut and sattu. I went around my constituency in a car and kept in touch with my family who watched television news,” said the CPI candidate. Clad in a white kurta-pyjama, Congress’ Raiganj candidate Mohit Sengupta seemed relaxed and upbeat. After making rounds of his constituency, he went home for a bath. Sengupta said, “I had lunch with my family. What could be better than spending some time with my mother and having lunch prepared by her.”
As for Sekhar Chandra Roy of Trinamool, the day passed by hopping from one party camp to the other. “I neither got the time to eat nor take a bath at home. Initially I had thought of going home in the afternoon, but I could not make it. I had to eat whatever the party workers had prepared — puffed rice, sweets and sometimes a cup of tea,” he said.
For Kanaia Lal Agarwal of Islampur, it was just tea on an empty stomach. “I was tense and didn’t feel like eating anything. But now as election is over, I think I will win. I am heading home for a bath and a late lunch,” he said.