People's Democracy

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

Vol. XXX

No. 20

May 14, 2006


People Of Bengal And Kerala:We Salute You!



IT 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. 


In 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 the Party. 


In 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. 


Alongwith Tripura, the electoral victories of Bengal and Kerala means that the CPI(M) leads three state governments in the country.  This  enhanced  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 enriching  their  status of livelihood.


The 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. 


What, 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.


In 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 sections. 


We 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. 


It 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 democratic India. 


In 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.