In north Bengal's 54 assembly constituencies that go to polls on Monday, the Congress and the Trinamool have their roles reversed.
While Mamata Banerjee's party is the dominant partner in the alliance in the rest of the state, in north Bengal it is playing second fiddle to the Congress, which is contesting 27 seats against the Trinamool's 26.
And this had to be so given the fact that Banerjee has hardly any influence in the six districts of the region. And she acknowledges her limitations: “North Bengal has always remained close to my heart even though it gave me only one MLA (later increased to two).”
Banerjee had to play the Congress card in Malda and North Dinajpur. In Malda, she sought votes in the name of "Barkat da" (the late ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury), whom she described as an iconic Congress leader who represented the place in the Lok Sabha. And in North Dinajpur, the alliance has to grapple with the problem of rebels contesting as independents.
As in all elections since 1977, the Left Front was a clear winner in 2006, getting 36 seats of the 49 in pre-delimitation north Bengal. Now, five ministers here will be fighting for survival.