(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 07, 2008
BENGAL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS 2008
BENGAL Left Front candidates won overwhelming electoral triumphs, in the most difficult of circumstances, at the township of tribal Jhargram in adivasi-dominated Midnapore west. The Left Front also won three of the five civic by-polls that were held on the same day November 30, 2008.
The Left Front also registered a thumping victory at the industrial township of Howrah, called Kolkata’s twin city. Like in the earlier years, the Left Front lost out in Berhampore where Adhir Chaudhuri again put his muscle power in, and in ample measure, to bolster and supplement his money influence. Krishnagar’s civic board again slipped out of the political grip of Left Front although margins of losses were small as compared to its margins of wins.
Much had been made in the corporate media about Jhargram. They said that the adivasis were no longer with the CPI(M). It was propagated that the adivasis were always against the ‘CPM control’ over them, and that this time around, the blockade and the dug out made of a few roads were clung to by the worthies of the media to outline a whole structure of danger signals for the Communist Party – whose candidates, they predicted, were going to lose in huge humiliation in the Jhargram municipal elections.
The Left Front supported CPI(M) candidates won 13 of the 17 seats that were contested. We had won 11 seats the last time around five years back.
This time, in every municipal ward, and in all four civic bodies and in the by-polls, a mahajot, stretching from the separatist Jharkhandis to the reactionary Congress and the Trinamul to the Left sectarian ‘Maoists,’ was active in a full-fledged manner with one-to-one contests being the order of the day. We still recall posters of BJP and Pradesh Congress during our recent visit to these areas that said ‘vote for the Jharkhandis or the Trinamulis as per strength and prospect of the candidate.’
Congratulating the adivasi brothers and sisters for the courage of political conviction, they had shown through their votes, LF chairman Biman Basu said that the communists had always remained with the adivasis through many struggles and movements in their interest and for their uplift.
From the Lodha struggle, to the role played by central committee member of the CPI(M) Kumar Shiralkar (who is fluent in five adivasi dialects) in helping Santhali make it to the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, to the hard struggle for the barrage on the roaring Kangsabati river, to struggling against the Jharkhandi and Maoist intruders and their killers’ ways, the CPI(M) had always been in the forefront taking along the people of the vananchal till the very recent movement for the recognition of the right of the tribal to the forest resources.
Biman Basu said that the corporate media, print or otherwise, would always call those engaged in digging up roads or felling precious trees, adivasis, and those going against these barbaric acts of commission men and women of the ‘CPM’. He asked the members of the fourth estate to be a little less biased when they regurgitate their anti-communist ire. Midnapore west CPI(M) secretary Professor Dipak Sarkar pointed out the crucially important fact that this year, the mahajot notwithstanding, the two reserved seats for adivasis at Jhargram went to the CPI(M) by a much larger margin than the last time around.
At Jhargram, in fact, the seats of the Pradesh Congress came down from two to a tragic one, that of the separatist Jharkhandis by the same statistical step down, while the Trinamulis just managed to hang on to two seats as they had done during the last elections.
Elsewhere, in Krishnagar, 24 seats saw a split like this: Left Front 2 (4 seats won during the previous poll), Trinamul Congress 8 (from nought earlier), and Pradesh Congress 14 (down from 18 the last time around). Berhampore saw Pradesh Congress of the Adhir fraction sweep all 25 seats although margins were lesser.
In Howrah, the picture is like this (with seats won earlier in brackets): LF 33 (37), Pradesh Congress 9 (8), Trinamul 7 (4), and finally BJP 1 (1). The LF and the CPI(M) would go in for a detailed analysis of the poll results, ward by ward, before coming up with a review, informed Biman Basu.