Exit polls predict defeat for almost entire cabinet
Change was in the air in West Bengal, but as it took over the airwaves, the morale of the ruling CPM all but disappeared. Tuesday’s exit polls had not only predicted a rout for the Left in the polls, it also said at least 14 of its ministers would bite the dust. Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri reports.kolkata Updated: May 12, 2011 00:13 IST
Change was in the air in West Bengal, but as it took over the airwaves, the morale of the ruling CPM all but disappeared. Tuesday’s exit polls had not only predicted a rout for the Left in the polls, it also said at least 14 of its ministers would bite the dust.
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who is contesting from south Kolkata’s Jadavpur, tops the list. Next come finance minister Asim Dasgupta, commerce minister Nirupam Sen, land and land reforms minister Abdur Rejjak Mollah, health minister Surya Kanta Mishra and Sunderbans affairs minister Kanti Ganguly.
The silver lining is the split verdict for housing minister Gautam Deb. While one local channel predicted his victory from Dum Dum, others said he would be bested by Bratya Basu of the Trinamool Congress.
“Exit polls have proved incorrect earlier, and this time too, it would fall flat,” said Mollah, on a winning spree since 1977, said.
Ganguly, however, was cautious. “I don’t want to say anything before the results are out. My contest would be a neck-and-neck battle in Raidighi.”
The prediction of defeat is visibly sending shivers all the way down from the party’s Alimudin Street headquarters to the cadres on the road. Leaders floated in and out, but gloom prevailed. No one at the party office, it appeared, was entertaining the idea of forming an eighth Left government.
Left Front chairman and CPM state secretary Biman Bose was busy attending a closed-door meeting with the state secretariat members. A few leaders were left outside to face the waiting media and rubbish the exit poll projections.
The cadres spent the day in making tense inquiries about the accuracy of the projections.
An eerie silence prevailed outside the CPM at south Kolkata’s Kasba. A hub of activity when the polls were on, the spot appeared deserted on Wednesday. There was none even to read party’s Bengali mouthpiece Ganashakti. The writing, literally, seemed to be on the wall.