People's Democracy

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


No. 17

April  24, 2011




Surging Response for the Left Front


From Our Special

Correspondent in Kolkata


WITH the first phase of elections in 54 constituencies of northern districts over on April 18, the campaign has reached a crescendo for the next five phases in West Bengal. And, the surging response for the Left Front is evident, despite every possible effort to vitiate the atmosphere. Left Front, which started with setbacks in 2009 parliamentary elections and then again in 2010 municipal elections, is now on a comeback trail. Intensive contact with the masses, revitalisation of activities at every level, sharp and enhanced steps by the Left Front government in the interest of the poor and working people in the last few months, rectification of mistakes and defects etc have helped the Left Front in regaining the confidence of the people. Thousands of people are attending Left Front’s election rallies and meetings throughout the state. In many cases, the response is unprecedented and beyond the expectations of the organisers.




More than 84 per cent voting has been recorded in first phase of elections. A total of 54 constituencies in six districts witnessed huge turnout in a peaceful atmosphere. Except in three constituencies in Darjeeling hill areas, where Gorkha Janamukti Morcha has practically driven out the opposition, no untoward incidents took place anywhere. All sections of people, including the tribals, Nepali-speaking people and various ethnic groups poured out to exercise their democratic right.


CPI(M) state secretary Biman Basu and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have expressed satisfaction with the way voting took place. Left Front, which has a strong mass base in most of these districts, is confident of getting overwhelming majority in the first phase.




One of the major developments, meanwhile, is revelation of huge amounts of unaccounted money being spent by Trinamool Congress.  West Bengal housing minister, Gautam Deb, in a startling revelation in Press Club in Kolkata, has shown that  Trinamool Congress distributed huge amount of black money among the candidates ahead of the assembly polls in the state. "From Trinamool office, from district to district, from batch to batch, 226 candidates have been sent money. Candidates have been brought from various districts and have been given Rs 15 lakh each. The total amount of money given to candidates is nearly Rs 34 crore," Deb told reporters. He also alleged that fake coupons were later issued to show that the money was collected from the public and counterfoils of those coupons were burnt.


The CPI(M) has also submitted concrete evidence to the Election Commission in Kolkata and in New Delhi. The Left Front urged upon the Election Commission to find out the source of black money and take stern steps to check the menace. The EC has assured that it would take all necessary steps to check the use of black money in these elections.


Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee failed to counter the charge and instead claimed that some people from Mumabi and Chennai offered her money ‘to defeat CPI(M) in West Bengal’. She has also claimed that her party has every right to burn coupons, which is in fact illegal as per the election expenditure process. West Bengal had never witnessed such blatant use of money, that too of unknown sources, in elections. This issue has raised a serious alarm among the people.


Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee , in his election rallies alleged  that big money was at play to dislodge the ruling Left Front in the assembly polls. "Who is funding the huge cost for helicopter services and TV advertisements in different channels for TMC? We think some foreign powers and a few industrialists are at play against us," Bhattacharjee said.  "But I am sure, the people of Bengal will not bow down to the money power and bring the Left Front back to power," he has asserted almost in every meeting.




Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who is drawing huge crowds, has attacked the media-fuelled ranting of a so-called ‘change’.  “Change of what? Changing the land reforms benefits? Changing the established rights of workers? Changing the progressively developing education system? The rightist theory of change is destruction -- of nexus with evil powers like 'Maoists' and Morcha. But the people of Bengal will not accept it," he said in meeting after meeting.


Explaining the future plans related to agriculture and industrialisation, he blamed the Trinamool for hindering Bengal's industrialisation. The future of Bengal lies in both agriculture and industrialisation. "Agriculture is needed to provide meals and industrialisation for employment generation." He assured to provide rice at Rs 2 per kg to broader sections of people besides sugar, cooking oil and pulse through PDS.


Referring to the inadequacies like poor rice production during the Congress regime which resulted in starvation, he said, "The Congress is trying to return to power with the Trinamool Congress. But the conscious people of Bengal will not allow that."


Criticising the prime minister and Pranab Mukherjee, the CM said they want to use the pension amounts in the share market. If the share market collapses, the pensioners will face loss. We will strongly oppose it," he said. He also criticised the attempt to allow privatisation in the public sector banks and insurance by the Centre and tax imposition on readymade garments.




Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi called the West Bengal assembly polls a "second movement for freedom" by people who want to be free from the shackles of a 35-year-long vicious cycle of "oppression", while accusing Left Front government of not doing any development work in the state. Modi campaigned in North Bengal and practically poured his support for Trinamool Congress. Interestingly, Modi and Sonia Gandhi sounded alike in their anti-Left tirade.


(April 20, 2011)