Wednesday’s verdict from the 13 municipalities and five wards that voted last Sunday could signal the beginning of a phase of anxiety and doubt in the CPI-M. Are the results parts of an emerging pattern?
Barely a month after the panchayat polls setback, the Left has suffered yet another drubbing at the hands of the Congress and Trinamool Congress, losing four important municipality boards to them. And that too in areas where it did badly in the panchayat polls.
Forcible acquisition of land without proper rehabilitation, bad roads, insufficient drinking water, lack of electricity and corruption in the CPM-run municipalities have worked together to seal the Left Front’s fate.
It lost Dalkhola, Gushkura, Habra and Midnapore municipalities to the Congress and the Trinamool. Going by the results, the Left Front will form boards in the municipalities of Burdwan (CPM), Mekhliganj (Forward Bloc) in Cooch Behar, Balurghat (RSP) in South Dinajpur, Panihati (CPM) in North 24 Parganas and Chakda (CPM) in Nadia. Of the four municipalities that the Left lost, three — Gushkura, Habra and Midnapore — went to the Trinamool while one — Dalkhola — went to the Congress.
But it is the loss of Gushkura to the Trinamool that the Left will find most galling. The district had been an impregnable red fortress since the 1978 municipal polls. Political observers blame the latest vote against the Left here on land acquisition and spurt in industrial activities.
A study of the election results show the Congress has consolidated its position in North Bengal. After a long time, it has humbled the Forward Bloc and the RSP in Jalpaiguri and South Dinajpur.
Of the 261 wards that went to polls, 145 have been won by the Left, 55 by the Trinamool and 41 by the Congress. The BJP won 7 and others won 13. This means that while the Left Front won 145 wards, the Opposition combine won as many as 126 — not a comfortable difference from the Left’s point of view. Hence the anxiety in the CPM.