Elections are not just about politicians. They are about people and issues. And what really drives their vote.
Catch has, therefore, started 'Meet the Voter' series to capture what different impact groups in the poll-bound states are feeling. This is true insight into the upcoming assembly elections: up-close and hyper-personal.
Aparesh Saha, 35, runs a supplies and grocery store in Birbhum district's Nanoor town. Traditionally a Congress voter, he switched to the Trinamool Congress and voted for Gadadhar Hazra in the last elections.
Now, Saha is disillusioned with Hazra, who is running on the TMC ticket for the third time from Nanoor. He says he'll vote for CPI(M)'s Shyamali Pradhan, and that his family will follow suit on polling day, 17 April.
What do you think about the candidates in the fray in Nanoor?
Gadadhar Hazra has done nothing much. He has improved the odd road here and there. Shyamali is a new candidate, but I think she's got a good chance, because people are tired of Trinamool and have ill-feelings towards the party. TMC has really tortured people.
Why are people so upset with Hazra?
He promised jobs to people and took money, but nothing ever came out of it. He's taken money to resolve land issues, and that didn't happen either. He's always caused some dispute or other. I think that's why people have lost faith in him.
So, which party do you think is going to win here?
I have a feeling CPI(M). (Looks around and lowers voice) I'll vote Shyamali... though I've usually voted TMC.
You voted for Hazra last time?
Yes, I actually did vote for TMC last time, but not anymore. Our whole family will vote for the Left this time around.
Are you voting for the CPI(M) or against the TMC?
Yes, that's exactly the point. We don't want the vote to go to Hazra.
Do you feel there's a resurgence of the Left here?
Well, Sheikh Kajal (local leader) is providing his support to them... not directly, of course, but we know it. Most of my friends and acquaintances will most probably vote for the Left.
Aren't you scared of a backlash if Hazra's men find out who you're voting for?
There is that fear, but Kajal has been able to keep his men mostly at bay.
What is your opinion of Kajal?
He's not a bad man. It's just that some people in the TMC have used Kajal to serve their own ends.
Edited by Shreyas Sharma