Intellectuals in the state have never been more polarised. Artists and writers once close to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, known for his cultural leanings, have turned away but some remain sceptical of Trinamool Congress's performance if voted to power.
"A change of guard is necessary because if a government stays in power for too long, it stops functioning properly. It stops caring about the masses. The Left Front has been in power for more than three decades," Manoj Mitra, a renowned theatre personality who was earlier known as an artist close to the state's ruling Marxists, said.
Eminent writer Atin Bandopadhyay echoed Mitra. "Yes, I want a change of regime. After staying in power for so long, they think they can get away by doing whatever they want. This is not right. Let's at least give one chance to the Trinamool Congress. If you see my writings, you will find Leftist leanings, but this Left Front has lost all its Left ideology," said Bandopadhyay, earlier known for his proximity with the Left.
At the opening ceremony of Kolkata Book Fair, Bandopadhyay had embarrassing chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was present on the dais, by condemning the killing of seven villagers by CPI(M) goons in Netai.
"From Nandigram to Netai, I had protested the atrocities of the Left Front and now also I have the same stand. It hasn't changed," said Shankha Ghosh, a poet once close to Bhattacharjee.
Some are sceptical of Trinamool's performance. "I am sceptical about the effectiveness of governance if there is a change of party. I want change in the quality of governance. It is true that the Left Front has made several mistakes, but I trust what they are saying now about what they will do if they are again voted to power," said Kaushik Sen, theatre personality.
Writer Samaresh Majumdar was more critical of the Trinamool Congress.