After 34 years, a ‘different’ day in Bengal (Lead)

May 14th, 2011 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, May 14 (IANS) It was a “very different” Saturday for the people of West Bengal. A day after the 34-year-old Left Front government was swept out of power, it was not any more the same old faces hogging space on newspapers and TV news channels. The CPI-M’s mouthpiece Ganashakti grudgingly termed it “Rajye palabadal” or change of regime in state.

Till a few months ago, very few people would have believed that the CPI-M-led Left Front can be defeated.

Banker T.P. Dutta expressed the popular sentiment: “A first-time voter in 1977, when the Left Front came to power, would now be all of 55 years.

“That means from his early youth to the fag end of his professional life he has seen only the comrades in office. He has seen the same faces in the newspapers and on television channels deciding policies on all issues.” In 1977, the minimum age of voting was 21. It is 18 years now.

Swapan Chowdhury, a college-going youth, said with Trinamool Congress chief and would-be chief minister Mamata Banerjee promising to ensure jobs, the youth are again filled with hope.

“During the last 24 hours, it was a delight to see her talking to the media and giving broad outlines of her plans. She has promised to give more stress to youth issues.

“The Left Front also made a lot of promises. But the problem is when you are in power for long, people don’t take your promises seriously. Then people look more at your report card. A new regime brings new ideas, new plans. And that generates fresh hope in the minds of the people,” he said.

Siddha Guha, a housewife, said she felt nice to see a woman at the helm of affairs in the state. “The more I see her on television, the more I like her. She is spontaneous, simple, unlike the grumpy old faces on Alimuddin Street (state headquarters of Left front major Communist Party of India-Marxist).”

An editorial in the Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Bengali daily Ganashakti termed the poll results as “unexpected” but admitted that the people have “brought to an end the Left Front rule”.

However, it tried to boost the morale of the cadre by saying the Left will take up people’s issues that are bound to come up in the coming days as the masses come under “more vigorous attack” due to liberalisation and privatisation.

“New areas of struggle will emerge. Then the Leftists will start new chapters of struggle by being with the suffering masses.”

“The anti-people policies have to be defeated through that fight.”

The editorial also expressed concern whether the interests of the toiling masses would be protected under the new Congress-Trinamool Congress dispensation.

“The political forces which are set to govern the state now after 34 years, have a past which is synonymous with semi-fascist terror and anti-people policies.

“So there is concern over the protection of the rights of the people, particularly the working and impoverished classes,” the daily said.

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