BJP likely to upset the apple cart in North Bengal

With 54 seats comprising four districts - Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Darjeeling and Malda - up for grab, the beleaguered CPM which has been facing tremendous heat from its arch rival Trinamool Congress in South Bengal, plans to turn it a make-or-break poll.

Believe it or not, the Marxists have been heavily banking on the Bharatiya Janata Party to increasingly flex its muscle in the confused scenario to reap electoral harvest. The winds of change which have been sweeping the seven South Bengal districts, are yet to take  coherent shape to dislodge the Left Front from its citadel owing to the emergence of some disparate groups that have pockets of prominence that could potentially eat into the vote share of both the Congress and the Trinamool.

While much depends on the Congress-TMC alliance to change the tide at the last moment which even a diehard CPM supporter too concedes, the Left Front is desperately looking up to the BJP to divide the opposition vote bank and there are good reasons behind it.

The BJP could play a stellar role in at least 13 to 14 constituencies out of 54 seats in North Bengal.  Going by the sheer electoral calculations, the BJP has a vote share varying between 12.9 per cent (Habibpur in Malda) and a high of 37.67 per cent (Jalpaiguri's Madarihat) that the emerging Cong-TMC alliance will have to negotiate with. In some pockets of Dooars where it has been building its base silently, the BJP has a larger vote share than the Left though.

The confused scenario stems from more than a single factor; unlike in South Bengal districts and other adjoining districts where the CPM-led Front has been pitted in a straight fight in almost all the seats, there is not a single seat where there is even a remote possibility of a straight contest against the Left.

Much to the chagrin of the Congress which has been a big force in North Bengal, the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Bikash Parishad has refused to align  itself with the Congress and decided to fight alone. 

The Left calculations may go awry if there is a sudden surge in the electorate towards the polling booths and percentage of valid votes increases.

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