The effort and the ambition of the Left to expand its area of influence across the Hindi heartland received a set back in the recent assembly election in Uttar Pradesh (UP). For the first time, since 1952, the Communist parties failed to open their electoral account and would go without representation in the newly formed legislative assembly.
In 2002, the CPI (M) had won the two seats of Najibabad and Meja. This time around, all that the Party could do was to come a close second in these two segments. Of the 15 seats, it fought, the CPI (M) fared, by the Party’s own admission, poorly.
Electoral defeat is followed by political introspection. And the CPI (M)’s internal assessment of the situation has pointed to ``caste appeal and growing caste fragmentation’’ have succeeded in eroding the Party’s vote base.
The Party has also said that BSP’s victory does not mean that caste barriers have been broken down in the state. ``The success of the BSP lies in putting together a caste coalition utilising the solid base of the dalits. This was possible not by breaking down caste identities but by nurturing and appealing to caste blocs to come together for mutual interests,’’ the Party leadership wrote in an article in its mouthpiece People’s Democracy.
The BSP victory, it said, has a two-fold aspect. ``The first is the continuing appeal of dalit empowerment which the BSP symbolises. The second is the more systematic spread of caste as a political mobilisation tool, overriding other factors. It is this latter feature which threatens to overwhelm the positive feature of the former,’’ the Party said.
It added that the opportunist nature of caste coalitions cannot provide substantial gains to the people. And that is where, the Party felt that the Left could step in by building movements that would take into account the social problems of the people.
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