People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 19

May 09, 2004


West Bengal: Fear Of Left Front's Mass Strength


WEST Bengal will be going to the polls in the last round on May 10. In the build up to the elections there, it has become increasingly clear that the CPI(M) and the Left Front is headed for  a big victory.   The Trinamul Congress-BJP combine which is the main opposition and the Congress are in no position to counter the solid mass support for the Left. 


Faced with this reality, from the outset, the opposition has been working to ensure some intervention in its favour. The first charge made, through the hostile media, was that West Bengal and Bihar are the two states most prone to violence and rigging. This mischievous attempt to bracket West Bengal and Bihar was done with a view to influence the Election Commission. 


In the first meeting of political parties with the Chief Election Commissioner at Kolkata, the BJP representative accused the state government employees of being biased. Soon after, the Election Commission decided to draft polling staff from outside Bengal for polling duties. Staff from Assam, Orissa and Jharkhand are being deployed for this purpose. This is a singular step which has been taken by the Election Commission in no other state.  The Commission has not given any explanation why this is necessary for West Bengal.


Now, news has come that some central observers are acting in a partisan fashion. The Left Front  has cited the case of  two central observers in Katwa and Diamond Harbour constituencies who have been trying to influence voters.  Another observer in the Asansol Lok Sabha seat has been asking the voters why they vote for the CPI(M) and whether it is under duress. 


Prime Minister Vajpayee, in an election meeting in south Kolkata, has repeated the canards against the Left Front charging that voters are intimidated and free and fair polls are under threat in West Bengal. If officers belonging to the central government who are posted as central observers behave in a partisan fashion, it is not unreasonable to suspect a definite pattern. 


The charges of rigging have been made over the last two decades by the opposition and the ruling classes as they are unable to come to terms with the organised strength of the Left.  The organisation and consciousness of all sections of working people are on display on polling day when they come out in large numbers to vote. West Bengal has one of the highest polling rates in the country. Class consciousness frightens the ruling classes including their supporters in the bureaucracy and the media.  This is sought to be confused with the goondaism and criminalisation, which results in the capturing of booths and terrorisation of voters in places like Bihar and parts of Uttar Pradesh and other places.


The hurling of baseless charges about the fairness of the elections in West Bengal is a sure indication that the bankrupt opposition once again fears defeat at the hands of the Left Front. May 10 will deliver another resounding verdict in favour of the CPI(M) and the Left Front in West Bengal.