Almost all heavyweight cabinet colleagues of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, including the captain, are staring at defeat, going by the verdict of the exit polls.
Once the poster boy of Left, Bhattacharjee will surely be embarrassed if he is defeated by former bureaucrat and Trinamool candidate Manish Gupta in Jadavpur. Among his prominent cabinet colleagues who might be defeated are finance minister Asim Dasgupta, commerce & industries minister Nirupam Sen, land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah, health minister Suryakanta Mishra and Sunderbans affairs minister Kanti Ganguly. Altogether, the exit poll has projected the defeat of at least 14 high profile ministers.
The only consolation is the divided exit poll projections for housing minister Gautam Deb, star campaigner for the Left Front. While projections by some channels like Star Ananda have projected Deb's victory from Dum Dum, channels such as Mahua Bangla favour Deb's opponent and Trinamool Congress candidate Bratya Basu as the victor.
Another Left minister bucking the trend might be state irrigation minister Subhas Naskar who is taking on Arnab Roy of the Congress. Naskar is confident of retaining the seat. "Even in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, we won the Basanti seat by a huge margin of 24,000 votes," he said.
On Tuesday, Deb rubbished the exit poll claims and said, "People of West Bengal have already given the mandate for formation of the eighth Left Front government." Sharing his optimism was another cabinet colleague. "Exit poll projections have proved to be incorrect earlier, and this time too, it would fall flat on its face. The Left Front will win in half of the constituencies in West Bengal," said Mollah, who has been winning without a break since 1977 from Canning (East).
Mollah is up against Ibrahim Mollah of the Congress, one of the prominent faces in AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi's youth brigade.
When pointed out that some exit polls projected his own defeat as well, Mollah said, "If anyone has projected it, I do not have any quarrels with it."
The harvest at Raidighi is of no lesser consequence than Jadavpur, where actor Debasree Roy is up against Kanti Ganguly. Although Ganguly's supporters are harbouring hopes of him winning the seat by a minimum margin of 7000 votes, they are wary of a repeat of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, when Trinamool MP from Mathurapur CM Jatua, opened out a massive lead of 19,000 votes.
However, the tough fight notwithstanding, Roy remains hopeful of a giant killing act and a repeat of successful electoral harvest of her Tollywood colleague Shatabdi Roy, who contested the Birbhum Lok Sabha seat in 2009 and won.
Ganguly, known to be a man of prompt action, however, did not sound that confidant like Deb or Mollah. "I will have to wait till the results are declared on May 13 and before that I do not want to say anything. My own seat will be a neck-and-neck battle. SUCI was an important factor at Raidighi, the constituency where I am contesting," he said.
The list of the defeated candidates projected in the exit polls portrays a real scary picture for the Left Front. The fear-factor is not in seeing their party in the opposition but because of uncertainties over the fate of their generals who will be steering the party in tough times.