WITH THE Left finishing at number 3 in the recently concluded Assembly elections, the split within the Front seemed to grow wide with party leaders divided on the reasons behind their poor performance.
While Siliguri mayor Asok Bhattacharya said that the “Siliguri Model” – the original basis for the Left-Congress alliance – shouldn’t be discarded, an article in the Left mouthpiece Ganashakti blamed the BJP for the party’s defeat in the state, a stance dismissed by a section of CPM leaders as “antithetical to reality”.
On Friday, CPM MLA Bhattacharya, who defeated TMC candidate Bhaichung Bhutia from Siliguri, had said, “We have proved that the strategy (Left-Congress alliance) can work. There is no reason to belittle it. There are many leaders in the Left Front who had initially refused to accept the theory of allying with the Congress. I had to hear several comments from such people who felt that the strategy would not work. But we have proved in three consecutive elections that an indomitable political force like Trinamool can be defeated in Siliguri.”
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Bhattacharya’s comments came after a large section of the Bengal CPM came under attack from various quarters over the decision to form an alliance with Congress.
However, an article in Ganashakti reiterated the stance of CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, alleging that the “unofficial understanding” between BJP and Trinamool was responsible for their defeat. Without commenting on the future of the alliance, Mishra had said, “They (BJP and TMC) have adjusted at least 10-12 seats among themselves. TMC ensured BJP’s victory in Kharagpur, thus helping it to enter Bengal. This is a dangerous sign. To counter this, the relevance and importance of a Left, democratic and secular alliance is not fading but growing.”
Meanwhile, a section of CPM leaders dubbed Mishra’s stand on their defeat as “antithetical to reality”. “I don’t understand where such ideas are coming from. To say that the BJP did well and hence we were defeated is antithetical to reality. By doing well, BJP did their job,” a senior CPM leader said. “We obviously made mistakes and miscalculated the situation. To blame the opposition, particularly a party which is communal, is just making it worse. The time for trying to shirk responsibilities is over,” he added.
In its worst performance since 1977, the Left was reduced to only 33 seats in the 294-member assembly, behind the Congress with 44. “The CPM central committee and the state party committee needs to examine the reasons for the poor performance of the Left Front and the electoral tactics adopted to draw proper lessons,” said a statement by the party Politburo on Thursday.