No Left turn in Bengal and Kerala

  • Tanmay Chatterjee and Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times, Kolkata/Thiruvanthapuram
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  • Updated: Nov 11, 2009 00:35 IST

The Left was emphatically rejected by voters in 10 constituencies in West Bengal and three in Kerala in the Assembly byelections.

While the Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance  trounced the CPI(M)-led Left Front in Bengal, leaving just one seat to the Forward Bloc, the Congress retained all three seats in Kerala.

In West Bengal, the Left  Front led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) lost all five seats it contested.

The main Opposition party, Trinamool Congress won all seven seats it contested while  its ally Congress got one seat. An Independent backed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was elected from one constituency.

“People have spoken out against the Marxist sponsored violence and CPI(M)’s bad governance. People have voted for change,” said Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday. CPI(M) state  secretary Biman Bose, said, “We accept the people’s verdict. We have to analyse the results.”

For the Left Front and CPI(M), Tuesday’s results were the latest in a series of upsets  that began with the May 2008 panchayat elections, which were  held  in  the backdrop of the CPI(M)’s controversial land acquisition drives in Nandigram and Singur.

In Kerala, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) retained all three assembly seats, riding on a strong anti-incumbency wave.

The Congress won Kannur, Ernakulam and Alapuzha with impressive margins.

The bypoll verdict won’t affect the stability of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government headed by V.S. Achuthanandan,
which has 100 MLAs in a House of 141. But the results may be a precursor of more shocks for the LDF in the coming local body elections.

“It is a verdict against the anti-people policies of the LDF Government,” said state Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala.
The Chief Minister however said, “Our vote percentage is intact. In fact, we have improved upon our performance in the Lok Sabha elections.”


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