People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 14, 2006
is, indeed, a spectacular victory!
In West Bengal, the Left Front has romped home for a record seventh successive term with a three-fourth majority. This is, by all counts, an international record of the communists winning democratic elections in a capitalist society. The Left Front has won 235 seats out of 293. The CPI(M) alone has a comfortable majority having won 176 seats. The geographical spread of the victory shows that there was a uniform overwhelming support for the Left Front in both rural and urban Bengal. The Left Front maintained its rural bastion and increased its influence in urban Bengal. This resulted in increasing its tally from 199 in 2001 to 235 now.
Kerala, the CPI(M)-led Left and Democratic Front (LDF) has won a clear two-third
majority. Of the 140 seats, the LDF won 98.
Of these, the CPI(M) has won 61 seats plus four independents supported by
Tamilnadu, the CPI(M) had won nine seats compared to the six it had in the last
assembly. In Assam,
the CPI(M) has won two seats while it had none in the last assembly.
Tripura, the electoral victories of Bengal and Kerala means that the CPI(M)
leads three state governments in the country.
prestige of the Left, as reflected in
these electoral gains, will have
its corresponding impact on the Indian political scene. The Left’s support to
the UPA government at the centre, from the outside, is based on the
implementation of the Common Minimum Programme. This will now have to be taken
up in right earnest with the singular objective of improving people’s welfare and
status of livelihood.
victory in West Bengal is particularly significant for yet another reason. The CPI(M) has often been accused of preposterous
charges like indulging in “scientific rigging”, manipulating voters’ list
etc. The Election Commission, on
its part, aided such efforts
by declaring an unprecedented five phase election
in Bengal whereas in Tamilnadu [a state sending 39 plus 1 (Pondicherry)
MPs compared to 42 MPs that West Bengal returns], there was a single phase
election. This, we are told, is because the political parties in
Tamilnadu requested a single-phase election. Why
were political parties in Bengal not consulted? It is such double standards that gave credence,
unfortunately, to the preposterous charges against the CPI(M) and the Left
Front. The EC brought in
security forces from outside Bengal as
it did not trust the local police. They
brought poll personnel from
outside as they did not trust
the Bengal bureaucracy. As
long as they could not bring voters from outside, they could not defeat the Left
Front. Despite everything, the results being what they are should at least now
put to rest all false fabricated charges mounted by the political opponents of the Left. The simple fact of the matter is that the Left Front enjoys
popular support and, hence, this mandate. The issue of preventing the EC from
exceeding its brief and adopting double standards must now be taken up to
strengthen Indian democracy. The
attitude that successive Election Commissions are taking recently – that they
alone are conducting free and fair elections – makes a mockery of the last six
decades of Indian democracy. This needs to be corrected.
therefore, is the secret that ensures the
negation of the anti-incumbency factor, which operates viciously in almost all
other states, in West Bengal? The secret lies in the following: In complete contra-distinction with the national experience
where an 8 per cent overall economic growth takes place at the expense of rural
distress, in Bengal, the double digit economic growth takes place on the basis
of rural economic empowerment. The
success of the land reforms has resulted in the economic empowerment of the vast
Bengal rural population. The consequent growth of the purchasing power in rural
Bengal today generates the demand for a new phase of industrialisation. It is
this vision of such a new phase of industrialisation advanced by the Left Front
which captured the imagination of the people and, hence, this result. Elsewhere
in the country, the continuing and deepening agrarian distress is the main
contributor to the anti-incumbency factor.
This simply doesn’t exist in Bengal.
Kerala, a major part of this verdict has been the people’s urge to liberate
themselves from the misrule and the repression unleashed against popular
struggles by the previous UDF government. Important,
however, is also the fact that the
CPI(M) and the LDF had projected an
alternative vision for Kerala’s economic development.
Kerala, a state with 100 per cent literacy and the highest human
development indices in India, is best poised to embark on a trajectory of
economic development based on modern day advances like in information technology
etc. The people’s embrace of the LDF’s vision for economic development is
what explains the universal support it received from all regions and all
salute the people of Bengal and Kerala for
the confidence they have reposed in the CPI(M) and the Left by giving
such huge electoral victories. We
do so being fully conscious of the
new responsibilities that these CPI(M)-led state governments will have to
discharge in order to meet these aspirations of the people.
is gratifying to note that the BJP has, once again, failed to open its account
in Kerala. It has never won an assembly or a parliament seat from Kerala since
independence. Likewise, in Bengal, the BJP has drawn a complete blank.
Similarly, in Tamilnadu, where
it had pinned high hopes, the BJP failed to win a single seat. Only in Assam, it
has managed to retain what it had in the last election.
Such isolation of the
communal forces augers well for the
consolidation of a secular
these elections, the CPI(M) had sought the people’s support, apart from all
other issues, to strengthen the
Left in order
to build a better India. The struggles for meeting the people’s
aspirations and the pressures on the UPA government to implement the pro-people
promises made in the CMP will now have to be taken with renewed vigour.