Left behind - Bengal can’t believe it!

May 17th, 2009 - 5:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Kolkata, May 17 (IANS) In buses, tea stalls and street corners, politically vibrant Kolkata had no other topic of discussion Sunday but the crumbling of the Left citadel in West Bengal. The Lok Sabha poll results have left people shocked, surprised or simply ecstatic.
“I never thought such a result was possible in the state. No exit poll could predict it. I don’t understand what is happening,” said Bijoy De, a lawyer.

T.P. Dutta, a banker, said the Left was facing the wrath of the people for the arrogance of its middle and lower level leaders. “They had all stated thinking that they are invincible, and they had the right to do whatever they wanted.

“This should serve as a lesson to the Left Front. There are a lot of good qualities in the Left parties. But the long years in power had led to decay.”

Over the last couple of months there was a broad consensus that the Left would lose seats, but nobody expected it to get the clobbering it did - just 15 of the 42 parliamentary seats in the state.

The Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance ended up with 26 seats, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got one.

Local vernacular dailies came out with screaming headlines announcing the change.

“Country in Congress hands, winds of change in Bengal”, said Anandabazar Patrika newspaper in a banner headline.

“CPI-M mauled, Red Fort destroyed in Mamata storm,” said Bartamaan.

Even the pro-Left daily Aajkaal conceded: “Left slips in Bengal”.

An air of deep disappointment was evident in CPI-M mouthpiece Ganashakti’s report, which termed the result as ‘unexpected’ under the headline, “Left Front suffers big jolt in state”.

In an editorial, the Bengali daily said: “In terms of seats, the result in West Bengal is diametrically opposite to those in earlier elections. And this is unexpected.

“To gain mileage in the polls, the Trinamool entered into a seat adjustment with the Congress by coming out of the (Bharatiya Janata Party) BJP-led alliance. The Trinamool alliance has succeeded.”

People in general are shocked or pleasantly surprised.

Sumit Majumdar, a contractor, was still bemused. “Before every Lok Sabha and assembly election in the state over the last 25 years there is talk in the media and in street corners that the Communist rule will be over. But every time the Left has emerged victorious.

“So I thought the same thing would happen this time. May be they will lose some seats, I thought. But that they will be battered like this was beyond my imagination.”

In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls five years ago, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front had bagged a whopping 35 seats, while the Congress and the Trinamool Congress had to remain satisfied with six and one respectively.

For Manas Ghosh, a staunch supporter of Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee, it was time for euphoria.

“For how many years have we been waiting to see this. Didi (Banerjee) has done it at last. Now it is only a matter of two years before the CPI-M and other Left parties are voted out of the state,” he said, referring to the assembly polls in 2011.

The Left Front has ruled the state for 32 years.

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