If the recent assembly polls in West Bengal were bad for the Left Front, which was defeated after 34 years in power, the worst may be yet to come.
A closer scrutiny of the results shows if Lok Sabha polls are held now, the CPI(M)-led Left Front may draw a blank from the 42 seats in the state.
Left candidates are ahead of the Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance, which is now in power, in just seven constituencies — Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Balurghat, Rajgunge, Malda North and Bolpur.
But even in these, the Left is ahead only because of the presence of rebel candidates from the Congress-Trinamool alliance. Rebels’ vote share is higher than the Left’s leads — implying that without these rebels, the Left would lose even these seats.
In Cooch Behar parliamentary constituency, for instance, the Left is ahead by 20,363 votes. But Congress rebel Fazle Haque, contesting from Dinhata assembly segment under Cooch Behar, won more than 63,000 votes. If Haque’s votes are added to the Congress-Trinamool basket, the Left ends up trailing by 40,000 votes.
So far, the 2009 Lok Sabha polls represent the Left’s worst ever performance, when it won just 16 seats. In contrast, the Trinamool Congress, Congress and Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) together won 26.
The next Lok Sabha elections are expected in 2014. “Let’s wait till the time comes,” said CPM central committee member Mohammad Selim. “Who knows whether the LS polls will be held in 2014. Look what’s happening in New Delhi.”
“People blessed us in the 2009 LS polls. They would do so again in the next,” Trinamool MP said Sultan Ahmed said.