The writing on the wall was there since the beginning and the Left Front was worried of the continuously eroding vote bank in the industrial belts of West Bengal. The apprehension turned to rude reality, with the industrial belts in North 24-Parganas and East Midanpore contributing a major share in the Marxist rout.
The rust belt in the Barrackpore sub-division of North 24-Parganas district, contributed the maximum in dismantling Left rule. The Congress-Trinamool Congress combine swept the belt winning in all 8 constituencies. The picture was a study in contrast in 2006, when the Left Front bagged 7 out of 8 constituencies.
Even constituencies like Bijpur, whose voters were still with the Left Front in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, shifted their alliance to Trinamool. Khardah and Nahati were the two constituencies, which witnessed the fall of CPI(M) heavyweights. While the state finance minister and CPI(M) candidate from Khardah, Asim Dasgupta was defeated by Trinamool candidate and Ficci secretary general, Amit Mitra, at Naihati, the state transport minister, Ranjit Kundu lost to Trinamool’s Partha Bhowmik.
As predicted by HT earlier, the North 24-Parganas industrial belt, which had been traditionally with the Left since 1977, deserted the Marxists. Fed up of broken promises made by the ruling party, they voted for change.
An equally devastating blow for the Left came in the Asansol-Durgapur industrial belt of Burdwan, where the opposition bagged 7 out of 10 constituencies.
In 2006, the figure was totally opposite with the Left Front winning in nine seats and only one going in favour of the opposition. The 5 constituencies in the erstwhile red fort in the industrial belt of Burdwan, where voters shifted their affiliation included Barabani, Asansol North, Asansol South, Durgapur East and Durgapur West.
The fate was the same for the two constituencies in Nadia, Saptagram and Chunchura, a wide stretch of which is occupied by the tyre factory-cum-township of Dunlop India Ltd.
While at Chunchura, the All India Forward Bloc candidate and the state food minister, Naren Dey lost, at Saptagram, CPI (M)’s Asutosh Mukhopadhyay, had to taste defeat. Dey is not used to defeat, having won seven times from Chunchura since 1977.
The fate of the Left was the same at Haldia, the industrial belt in East Midanpore, where Trinamool candidate Shiuli Saha defeated the CPI(M) candidate Nitynanda Bera.