Winds of change in Bengal: The lull before the storm

Politics | Rituparna Chatterjee | May 12, 2011, 5:53 pm
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 Even as the Soviet Union collapsed and Eastern Europe turned to capitalism, the Communist Party has held onto power here. But after 34 years, the state of West Bengal may be about to get a makeover. The state's poverty-weary population, hungry for change, has been captivated by populist firebrand Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress Party as they campaigned in state elections.<br><br>In this photo taken April 27, 2011, a Muslim voter waits outside a polling station during West Bengal state assembly elections at Sherpur, 52 kilometers south from Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)
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Even as the Soviet Union collapsed and Eastern Europe turned to capitalism, the Communist Party has held onto power here. But after 34 years, the state of West Bengal may be about to get a makeover. The state's poverty-weary population, hungry for change, has been captivated by populist firebrand Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress Party as they campaigned in state elections.

In this photo taken April 27, 2011, a Muslim voter waits outside a polling station during West Bengal state assembly elections at Sherpur, 52 kilometers south from Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)

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 In this photo taken April 20, 2011, West Bengal state Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee listen to a speech during an election rally of the Communist Party of India-Marxist ahead of the state elections in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)
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In this photo taken April 20, 2011, West Bengal state Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee listen to a speech during an election rally of the Communist Party of India-Marxist ahead of the state elections in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)

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[caption id="attachment_793047"] In this photo taken April 23, 2011, red hammer-and-sickle flags surround a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das) [/caption]

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 In this photo taken Wednesday, April 20, 2011, supporters of the Trinamool Congress party and their ally the Congress party walk past a field to attend a rally addressed by Congress party President Sonia Gandhi, at Murshidabad, 300 kilometers (188 miles) from Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)
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In this photo taken Wednesday, April 20, 2011, supporters of the Trinamool Congress party and their ally the Congress party walk past a field to attend a rally addressed by Congress party President Sonia Gandhi, at Murshidabad, 300 kilometers (188 miles) from Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)

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 In this photo taken April 27, 2011, supporters of Trinamool Congress party sit near a portrait of their leader Mamata Banerjee outside a polling station in Barali, about 48 kilometers south of Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)
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In this photo taken April 27, 2011, supporters of Trinamool Congress party sit near a portrait of their leader Mamata Banerjee outside a polling station in Barali, about 48 kilometers south of Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)

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 In this photo taken on April 23, 2011, a supporter of Communist Party of India-Marxist puts up party flag before state assembly elections in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)
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In this photo taken on April 23, 2011, a supporter of Communist Party of India-Marxist puts up party flag before state assembly elections in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)

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 In this photo taken April 27, 2011, a man stands on a lane decorated with party flags of Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist, red hammer and sickle, in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)
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In this photo taken April 27, 2011, a man stands on a lane decorated with party flags of Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist, red hammer and sickle, in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)

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 In this photo taken April 27, 2011, voters wait outside a polling station decorated with flags of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, red colored flags, among others in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)
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In this photo taken April 27, 2011, voters wait outside a polling station decorated with flags of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, red colored flags, among others in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)

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 In this photo taken April 27, 2011, a man cycles past flags of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, red colored flags, among others outside a polling station at Tatipara, about 47 kilometers south from Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)
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In this photo taken April 27, 2011, a man cycles past flags of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, red colored flags, among others outside a polling station at Tatipara, about 47 kilometers south from Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)

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 In this photo taken April 23, 2011, Indian school students walk past a wall painted with a symbol of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, before the state elections in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)
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In this photo taken April 23, 2011, Indian school students walk past a wall painted with a symbol of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, before the state elections in Kolkata. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das)

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