The Left, and its largest constituent, the CPI-M, as well as the Congress must redefine their politics according to what is happening in Bengal today. The CPI-M still has relevance in Kerala, where it has a significant share of votes and seats, and in Tripura, where it has a hegemony on power. But Bengal, the most electorally significant state of the three, has slipped out of its grasp.
From ruling the state for 34 years, the CPI-M is now down to two seats out of 42 in the Lok Sabha, ironically the same number as the fledgling BJP. What bothers the CPI-M is the doubling of BJP votes in each of three assembly and Lok Sabha polls between 2009 and 2014, from 4% to 17% now. But that is not the main thing. If the so-called secular parties are to revive themselves in Bengal, they have to go back to the drawing board and rediscover the traits that made them popular in the first place. Hindu-Muslim fraternity, as practised by early Congress leaders, is a contested ground today, as the strife in Birbhum and other districts shows. Panchayati Raj institutions and land reforms, as implemented by the Left, have been corrupted and subject to capture by local elites. All this has to change.
For the short term, it might make sense for the CPI-M to ally with the Congress against the TMC, which has poached most of its cadre, and stem the growth of the BJP. That is no solution to the problems in the region.
The administration has to become more responsive to the needs of the people: public infrastructure is crumbling, so taxpayer money has to be deployed more effectively. Institutional reforms are needed, as are improvements in major public works like irrigation and public healthcare. Industry and employment have to grow.
2 Comments on this Story
nikunj 1818 days ago
True. Bengal is going down the drain day-by-day. They have to take steps other than "beautification" too develop WB. @didi, there is nothing wrong with beautification, but you have to see what is important at the current time, development or beautification? the roads are deteriorating and there are potholes everywhere. Repair it ASAP.
Akansha 2221 days ago