Assembly poll debacle: Left thinks on existence in Bengal, Cong MP seeks forced holiday for few

Assembly poll debacle: Left thinks on existence in Bengal, Cong MP seeks forced holiday for few

New Delhi: In the wake of assembly poll debacle, leaders of the Left parties as well as the Congress are perplexed over the rise of the BJP and decline of their vote bank in their respective erstwhile territories.

With CPI(M)-led Left Front decimated in the erstwhile red citadel of West Bengal, a politburo member has acknowledged that its alliance with the Congress went against the party which faces serious questions over its existences if it fails to check the erosion of vote bank.

Once invincible CPI(M) led Left Front, which had kept aside its “ideological convictions” to align with its one time foe Congress to oust the Trinamool Congress regime in Bengal, is the “biggest loser” in the polls as its tally dropped from 62 seats in 2011 to just 32 seats in the recently ended assembly elections.

”If we can’t check the further erosion of our vote bank and support base then we are ought to face serious questions over the very existence of CPI(M) and Left in Bengal. We have not only failed to gauge the mood and pulse of the people but also to regain our lost strength in last five years,” CPI(M) politburo member and former MP Hanan Mollah told PTI.

Mollah further said the alliance with the Congress was not accepted by the masses.

”We tried to forge an alliance with Congress in order to stop the division of anti-TMC votes. It has rather gone against us. The people didn’t accept this alliance. We cannot deny that people have voted for Mamata Banerjee and the TMC in large numbers, irrespective of the fact that there has been issues of unemployment, corruption and lack of industrialisation.”

The CPI(M) led Left Front which has received 43.6 per cent in 2009 Lok Sabha polls received 41 per cent votes in 2011 assembly polls, when it was ousted from power after 34 years of uninterrupted rule. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls Left Front had received 29 percent votes which was reduced to all time low of 24 percent in 2016.

Mollah’s colleague in CPI(M)’s politburo, Brinda Karat told PTI that the party leadership will examine the reasons for the poor performance of the CPI(M) and the electoral line adopted by the Bengal unit to draw proper lessons and revival strategy.

CPI(M) politburo member Mohammed Salim, one of the main architects of Congress-CPI(M) alliance on the day of results on May 19, had pointed fingers at Congress.”The Left voters extended their wholehearted support to the Congress, but I feel there remains a question mark over Congress votes coming to us,” Salim had said.

The Congress seems to have benefited from the alliance and bettered its vote percentage this time to 12.3, compared to 9.09 per cent in 2011, when it had contested in alliance with TMC. The Congress bagged 44 seats and will be the main opposition party in the assembly pushing the Left to the third spot.

The Left Front allies Forward Bloc and RSP, who were against formation of alliance with Congress, blamed the CPI(M) and its “big brotherly” attitude for the rout.

“In 2011, the Left Front had lost the polls but in 2016 the Left ideology has lost even before the results were announced. Those who don’t have any mass base have been the biggest proponents of Congress-CPI(M) alliance,” RSP state secretary Khsiti Goswami said.

Both Goswami and Biswas said the contradiction in electoral and ideological line adopted in Bengal, will have an adverse impact in the days to come

Amid unease in the Congress and demand for a “major surgery” a former Union minister has pitched for sending over a dozen senior leaders, who he accused of “misleading” party chief Sonia Gandhi, on a compulsory holiday.

V Kishore Chandra Deo has warned that if Congress failed to pull up its socks urgently, it would lead to mushrooming of regional parties in several states as “Modi government is out in 2019, if not earlier”.

Citing the example of Delhi where AAP suddenly sprang up and captured power, he expressed apprehension of the phenomena repeating itself in 15-20 states where there are “no established regional parties at present”.

In a media interview, Deo’s refrain was that there was a need for action as the party has already done “too much introspection”.

He made a strong pitch for sending “15-20 leaders” on a compulsory holiday for a few years. This was necessary as they “play the musical chair” in the organization, either in the AICC or as PCC chiefs, or become Union ministers if the party is in power, he said.

Deo did not take any names but his obvious target were most of those occupying positions in the AICC secretariat or those around the party chief and vice president Rahul Gandhi, advising them on various issues.

Lamenting the way the organisation runs, he said there are norms and guidelines on several things, which are there “only to be violated”.

The five-time Lok Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh and tribal affairs minister in the Manmohan Singh government, said what Congress needed was credible faces and a mix of youth and experience.

Deo recalled Rahul had spoken much about transformation of the organisation at the Jaipur brainstorming session after becoming party vice president in Janruary 2013.

After Congress’ dismal performance in assembly elections in four states and Union Territory of Puducherry, senior party leader Digvijay Singh had suggested a “major surgery” in the organisation.

(With PTI Inputs)

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