People's Democracy

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

Vol. XXX

No. 20

May 14, 2006

Left Front Sweeps Bengal Assembly Elections


B Prasant


THE colour is Red. 


For the seventh time in succession, the people of Bengal have ushered in the Left Front and with a massive electoral mandate.  The Left Front has won 235 seats of the 293 seats in the fray, and the CPI(M) alone has won 176 seats. 


The Bengal opposition was left far behind, floundering in the wake of the popular win. The media-hype about a ‘silent revolution in the EVM’s wrecking the chances of a return to office of the Left Front’ notwithstanding, the Trinamul Congress could win 29 seats, less than half the seats it had garnered in 2001 assembly polls.  The Pradesh Congress fared little better.  Its tally is 21, down from 26 in 2001.


At a glance, the results look like this:


Seats contested: 293 (Bhatpara countermanded due to the death of a candidate)


Left Front                                                                   Opposition

CPI (M)            176                                                     Congress                   21

FB                       23                                                     Trinamul Congress  29

RSP                    20                                                      GNLF                           3

CPI                       8                                                      SUCI                             2

SP                         4                                                      Cong (Adhir)               2

FB-M                    2                                                      Jharkhand Party          1

DSP                      1                                                         

RJD                       1

LF                     235


The 2006 assembly elections were held in circumstances that were certainly novel as far as the Election Commission was concerned. 


These circumstances were marked by:


The polling itself, provocations from various interested quarters notwithstanding, was free, fair, and peaceful as it always has been under the Left Front governance. 


The comparative study as in the table accompanying this report will make it clear how the CPI (M) and the Left Front could work their way towards winning an ever greater confidence of the people of Bengal this time around.


Addressing very crowded media conferences at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan, Bengal Left Front chairman and secretary of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M), Biman Basu said that it went to the credit of the democratic, conscious, and patriotic people of Bengal in making the polls free, fair, and peaceful. 


Biman Basu extended his hearty felicitations to the people of Bengal for ensuring a massive political mandate for the left Front and the CPI(M).


Critical of the role of the Election Commission, Biman Basu said that a small segment of the EC officials including some Observers were not familiar with the ambience of peace and fairness evolving in Bengal and had behaved in a manner that smacked of rank inexperience.


Biman Basu was also critical of a segment of the central paramilitary forces deployed whose behaviour occasionally crossed decency and propriety.  Biman Basu did point out that great many central paramilitary personnel, on the other hand, would express surprise at the peace and quietude of the ambience prevailing in Bengal and would confess that they had been fed different ideas about the conduct of elections being a daunting task in the ‘difficult state of Bengal.’


Biman Basu was of the view that in the days ahead, parameters ensuring the safeguards against an arbitrary outlook and lack of even-handedness of the election officialdom must be ensured.  For all cases of impropriety, enquiries must ensue, commented the CPI(M) leader.


Squashing outlandish claims from certain quarters about the present assembly elections witnessing the emergence of the ‘men-of-the match’ in the Election Commission and the media, Biman Basu said that such commentary, facetious and improper, went to underestimate the vital role of the people of Bengal who made the election a success by turning out in massive numbers. 


Speaking to the media, Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, too, congratulated the people of Bengal for the splendid victory of the Left Front and said the win ‘has further increased the responsibility of the Left Front government towards implementing programmes of development.’


Iterating that socialism was historically inevitable, Buddhadeb pointed out that developmental thrusts organised by the Left Front government needed investments.  Noting that the Left Front government never ceased in its strident opposition to liberalisation, Buddhadeb said that new ideas, pro-people, pro-poor, and pro-development were a welcome addition to the outlook of the Left Front governance.


The popular verdict in favour of the Left Front, commented Buddhadeb, was a mandate for the policies of the Left Front and the CPI(M).


In the days ahead, the seventh Left Front government, said Buddhadeb, would consolidate the gains made by Bengal in agriculture, and further accelerate the pace of industrial development.  Buddhadeb said that the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) missed the late Comrade Anil Biswas at this hour of massive electoral triumph.