If for India, BJP slogan is abki baar Modi Sarkar, at Barasat in North 24-Parganas district, it is abki baar PC Sorcar.
And Sorcar, magician-turned-BJP candidate from Barasat, smiles when he hears it. He indulges children who rush to him. “Let them come to me, I will teach them some tricks,” he says. On his roadshows, even elders say, “Show us some magic,” and he often obliges. Here too he teaches children a trick or two before party workers rescue him from the magic class.
If Barasat is witnessing some Sorcar magic, the candidate is expecting some magic at the ballot box on May 12. “I have got a bigger stage to perform now and I am sure I will do my job with equal sang froid,” Sorcar says, waving his hand without the wand he uses in his shows. “A BJP wave — you can call it a tsunami — is going to sweep out all sins, all wrongdoings, all injustices. They tried to stop me from campaigning. An FIR was filed against me. But I am sure the people will give a fitting reply,” Sorcar says.
Even his opponents concede he will show some magic on polling day. “He won’t win. But the BJP vote share will definitely increase,” says Murtaza Hussain, Forward Bloc candidate and a former minister in the Left Front.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, the sitting TMC MP, is confident of being re-elected for the work she has done. “Just for roads I got Rs 762 crore from JNNURM; for drinking water I got Rs 162 crore. I spent my entire MPLAD fund. And with my own money, I run a school for the underprivileged,’’ Ghosh Dastidar, a doctor like her husband and their two sons, tells The Indian Express.
Barasat has about 15 lakh voters and in 2009, when there was an alliance between the Congress and Trinamool Congress, Ghosh Dastidar beat her nearest rival, the Forward Bloc’s Sudin Chattopadhyay, by a margin of 1.22 lakh votes. The BJP’s Bratin Sengupta snagged about 55,000 votes.
In 2004, the Forward Bloc’s Subrata Bose defeated his nearest rival Ranjit Panja (Trinamool Congress). Barasat is traditionally a FB bastion, having sent that party’s candidates to Parliament five times.