This year’s parliamentary election results has been extremely surprising for the Left Front (LF), which has been decimated to 3/7th of their strength of last parliamentary elections in 2004, when the LF won as much as 35 seats compared to 15 in this election. Just three years ago in May’06 the LF won the assembly elections by a thumping margin scoring 235 seats out of 294 seats. Statistics says the LF has lost as much as 191 assembly segments of the 294 and has lost more than 5% in vote share down from about 48% in last parliamentary elections to about 43% in this election.
The picture appears to be gloomy for the LF in the coming assembly elections and it (LF) appears to be on the verge of losing power unless some Herculean effort is made to woo back the vast majority of minority Muslims, the poor and marginal farmers and to a lesser extent the Adivasis. In retrospect, the poor and marginal farmers, the hard working masses, the downtrodden Adivasis, the minority Muslims were the backbone of the LF in Bengal. Even the educated middle class, in recent times had been backing the LF.
For the LF the rot is total in the urban belt in and around Calcutta as well as large chunk of rural areas losing all the seats from the districts of Calcutta, Howrah, East Midnapore, North and South 24-Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad and Malda districts. The question is, ‘What went wrong then in this short span so much so that the LF appears to be losing power in next assembly elections slated for May’2011.’
An objective analysis shows the following mistakes on the part of the LF in general and the CPI(M) in particular resulting in a poll debacle of the magnitude stated above. In my analysis the importance of each factor is downward from point 1, i.e point 1 is the most important factor and so on
1. The Nandigram and Singur episode distanced a section of farmers as this section felt that their land may be forcibly acquired by the government. This factor alienated a section of farmers from the LF.
2. Sachhar committee report exposed the claim of LF that they are the champions for the minority empowerment. It showed the minorities in Bengal in a poor state of affairs even after 30 years rule of the Left. The opposition very well publicized this report resulting in loss of minority voters for the LF.
3. Harassing and expelling from CPI(M) an eminent personality like the Speaker of the house Sri Somnath Chatterjee alienated the Bengali educated middle class.
4. Poorer development in the Adivasi belt of Purulia, Bankura etc. alienated a section of Adivasis.
5. Attempting to destabilize the government over Nuclear issue did not go well with the masses which had seen resurgence of economy under the leadership of Dr.Manmohan Singh of the Indian National Congress. The general feeling was that the left should have only walked out of the house in protest instead of supporting no-confidence motion against the government.
- The slogan of forming a third front with regional parties (under Left leadership) too was not acceptable to the masses as the countrymen had the experience that such combinations have failed repeatedly in the past starting from the Janata Party government of 1977 to the governments of Charan Singh V.P.Singh, Chandrasekhar, Devegowda etc.