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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

West Bengal: CPM starts review of its poll rout, to send letters seeking public feedback

Already, the student, youth, women, farmer and agri-labour wings of the party, as well as trade unions aligned to the Left, have tendered their reports on the poll debacle to the leadership.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
July 4, 2021 5:58:21 am
CPM west bengal, west bengal CPM, CPM student wing, Students Federation of India, SFI, Democratic Youth Federation of India, DYFI, India news, Indian ExpressThe CPM will also accept criticisms in the form of handwritten letters or on WhatsApp.

After the CPM failed to send a single member to the Legislative Assembly for the first time since Independence, the party has invited feedback from the public, its mass organisations and trade unions to review its electoral
reversal.

Already, the student, youth, women, farmer and agri-labour wings of the party, as well as trade unions aligned to the Left, have tendered their reports on the poll debacle to the leadership. The state top brass has decided to accommodate all reasons as listed by the separate wings for the rout and later put them in the public domain in the form of a document on its website.

They will then turn the forum over to the people, seeking their opinion on what they led to the party’s defeat in the polls. The respondents will be entitled to present their views on the portal and even criticize the party’s policies for the polls. Incorporating the public feedback, the party will then come out with a final document on the roadmap going forward.

The Left Front had allied with the Congress and the Indian Secular Front, an outfit led by an influential Muslim cleric, in the polls, eyeing voters who were believed to be against the ruling Trinamool Congress and a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, the alliance came a cropper as the Left and Congress failed to win a single seat while the ISF bagged just one of the 27 it contested.

It is understood that nearly all mass organisations of the party, in their reports, have blamed the poll rout on the alliance with the ISF. One of the reports, states, “Though we said the ISF is a secular forum, a Muslim cleric (Abbas Siddiqui) was projected as their leader. Hence, the people had the impression that ISF is a communal organization and since we fought the polls in alliance with them, it also dented our strong secular image.”

Many members also vented their ire over the CPM’s alliance with the Congress, saying a similar arrangement had cost the party dear in 2016. The Congress had bagged 44 seats then, the Left Front tally came down to 26.

Almost a month after the results of the Assembly polls were declared, the State Committee of the CPM came out with its assessment on the reasons for the humiliating defeat. “There was sharp polarisation between the TMC and the BJP. This is, perhaps, the main reason for the defeat. Our call for an alternative government was rejected,” the State Committee said in a statement.

However, the mass organisations also pointed to a lack of a central poll slogan for the party, adding that its campaign proclaiming a tacit understanding between the Trinamool and BJP were rejected by the voters.

A state level student leader of CPM said, “We said we are against both the BJP and the Trinamool but on the ground, we mainly campaigned against the Trinamool. In our campaign, there was nothing against the NRC and the CAA.”

The party’s youth and student fronts also pointed to the party’s campaign against the Trinamool’s “dole” politics but failed to present a proper alternative of that.

The CPM will also accept criticisms in the form of handwritten letters or on WhatsApp.

The state leadership has instructed its grassroots organisations and branch committees to hand out copies of a letter from the State Committee to eminent personalities in their areas, asking them to send their feedback. The same can be done on its website or via WhatsApp as well.

A senior CPM leader said, “We want to know what people think about our poll performance from them and not through our cadres. We also want their opinions on our movements and political understanding. We will then take a decision on our roadmap going forward.”

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