Saturday, June 7, 2008

Left Front Suffers In West Bengal Polls

Known to be in bed with the Left Front, Frontline offers a sobering assessment of the Left Front's rather underwhelming performance in recent panchayat elections in West Bengal. Choice quotes:

What possibly stung the Left Front and the CPI(M) the most is the defeats in Nandigram in East Medinipur district and in Singur in Hooghly district. All eyes had been on these two regions, considering the trouble the State government faced both from the opposition and within the Left Front over land acquisition in both places, in Singur for Tata Motors’ small-car project and in Nandigram for a proposed chemical hub.

...The party also realises that it was time for some introspection. Admitting that after 30 years of governance an element of “arrogance” might have crept into the party, Bose told Frontline: “Unfortunately, sometimes our activists, even myself, feel we know best. This has been a good alarm call for all of us – right from Left Front leaders to the cadre – that we cannot afford to be arrogant. There is still much to learn from the people. We have to understand the mood of the masses.”
Arrogance is right. The Left Front was reminded that West Bengal is not China: they cannot just shove industrialization down the throats of people by government fiat alone. Even though the Left controls the government, democratic principles still matter. The rule of law still matter.

If there's one thing that has been abundantly made clear about this election is that the Left Front is vulnerable to organized opposition. The opposition - BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress - combined their resources at the panchayat level to defeat the Left Front.