Is it the end of the Left?
The assembly results on Friday will determine amongst many other things the future course of the Left parties. While most Exit polls are unanimously predicting a massive win for the Trinamool Congress headed by Mamta Banerjee, there appears to be flicker of hope for the Left so far as the forecast about Kerala goes. It is widely believed that the Congress led UDF should form the government but some psephologists on the basis of their polls are confident that Achutanandan with his honest image could pull it off for the LDF for the second consecutive term. Of course we will have to wait and watch how things unfold but the Left is certainly on the back foot as of now despite being a part of an alliance expected to win in Tamil Nadu and Pudicherry.
The Left’s rout in West Bengal is certainly going to be the most phenomenonal development in the country’s democratic history since the CPI (M) and its allies have controlled Calcutta for nearly 34 long years. And if they are on the losing side this time, it is essentially because they themselves accepted the fact of their diminishing popularity by changing a large number of party nominees before the six-phase poll was announced.
The Left’s defeat in Bengal also indicates that forces resisting change cannot survive for too long. One entire generation supported the Red Flag and those who were in control of things somehow did not realize that winds of change were blowing all around them. I have personally great respect for a number of Left leaders but collectively the polit bureau appears to have failed its own cardholders.
The Left has now to introspect and get its act together. It has to realize that its policies are flawed and the needless arrogance of some of their leaders has not gone well with the masses. Buddhdeb Bhattacharya is a well meaning man and a good leader but it is the party that has not been able to live up to the promise he showed.
But the Left must accept that change is something very natural and Calcutta could not have remained frozen in time. It has to come out and again become one of the best cities of this country. It has a whole new generation, which wants to keep abreast with the world rather than being chained to an outdated ideology.
While Kerala where the Left revolution originally started in the late fifties under EMS Nimboodripad is better placed today, a demoralized CPI(M) cadre may look for new and refreshing leadership after the defeat of their party in Bengal on Friday. Let us see how the Left copes with its worst defeat. One also wishes Mamta Banerjee a very bright future and she has singularly shown that if one has courage and determination, nothing can keep you down.