A tense and nervous West Bengal will wake up for polling on Wednesday, the final day of the month-long general election. The security forces will have their hands full if the fears of poll violence come true as 1.38 crore voters decide the fate of Left and Trinamool candidates in 11 Lok Sabha constituencies across Kolkata and adjoining districts.
For Bengal, this is the big battle. Nothing will be left to chance.
Even after campaigning ended on Monday, war rooms of both parties have been working over time. Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee (54) and Left Front chairman Biman Bose accused each other of bringing criminals from the districts into the city for creating trouble on Wednesday. This has given rise to rumours that violence and electoral malpractice would play a key role in the grand finale.
After leading her party through the first two phases, it will be Banerjee's turn to see whether her struggle for Maa, Maati, Manush (mother, soil, human being) pays dividend or the anti-industry taint slapped on her by the CPI(M) impresses the urban voters of Kolkata South constituency and the other 10 seats mostly spread across urban and semi-urban areas with stretches of farm land lying in between.
It is for the first time, West Bengal's urban voters will vote on the basis of what they feel about Singur and Nandigram. During the month-long run-up to the polls no party's campaign focused on urban Bengal or governance. The only issue which mattered to the Trinamool and the CPI-M, no matter how strongly chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (65) might try to deny it, is the land for industry controversy.
What remains to be seen is whether this leads to completely different patterns in voting in the cities and villages or whether Singur and Nandigram cement the anti-incumbency factor across all the 11 Parliamentary segments.