DEFENDING THE Left Front’s poor performance in the recently held Assembly elections where it won only 32 seats, CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra on Wednesday said had they forged the alliance with Congress earlier, the results would have been different.
“Had the decision to fight the TMC-sponsored terror unitedly with Congress been taken about eight months or a year ago, the results would surely have been different that what it has been now,” Mishra said during the Anil Biswas Memorial lecture here, referring to his claims before elections that the Left-Congress alliance would secure over 200 seats in the Assembly.
Pointing out that the Left and Congress had had secured 2.15 crore votes, Mishra said it was it was not a small achievement considering the adversities they faced. “People tell me that the Left is losing its relevance here in Bengal. I refer to the 2.15 crore votes in the Assembly elections and say that if the Left is not relevant here, it is not relevant in any part of the world,” the CPM state secretary said.
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He was quick to point out that no one would be able to distinguish the number of votes secured by Congress and the CPM separately.
Mishra reiterated that there was an under-the-table settlement between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress. “Whatever the Election Commission claimed, we know what kind of settlement was there between the two,” he said.
The CPM leader slammed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for giving out bicycles to schoolchildren and rice at the rate of Rs 2 a kg to people to earn favour. “Just before the election, schools went on a vacation and the rice meant for mid-day meals were channelised in this Rs-2 scheme to lure people. Now, after the election results are out, supply of foodgrain at public distribution system outlets have dried up,” Mishra said.
Alleging that Mamata’s “gimmicks” had swayed voters towards TMC, he said, “People who had been momentarily benefitted out of these schemes did not want to bother about where the state was going, as long as they stood to gain something out of it. That is a kind of narcissistic attitude which the ruling party had been exploiting to their benefit. But the mandate doesn’t legitimise the instances of corruption that the TMC is into.”
Mishra also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and said that he was making tall claims in his speeches during his visit to the United States, via teleprompters. “Mamata must be very happy listening to those. While he is saying to the Hindi-speaking population that I can save you if you vote for me, Mamata is saying the same to the Urdu-speaking crowd,” Mishra said.