25

Mar

1:42pm
Akash Chatterjee India
Assembly 2021:  Can the Left become the proverbial dark horse in West Bengal?

Assembly 2021: Can the Left become the proverbial dark horse in West Bengal?

Akash Chatterjee India//1:42pm, Mar 25th '21

The state of West Bengal is heading towards one of the most crucial assembly elections in recent year. Earlier, it was presumed that this election would be quite a bi-polar election, where two main forces, the ruling Trinamool Congress and the anti-incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party, would be at the centre of political actions. However as the state nears the election, left forces have emerged as a third political option in the state and many people are hoping to witness a triangular electoral battle.

In the upcoming election, the Left Front will not fight alone. Keeping electoral arithmetics in mind, the Left Front has joined forces with the Indian National Congress and the newborn Indian Secular Front founded by a Muslim cleric turned politician, Peerjada Abbas Siddiqui. This newly formed coalition can be vital in the upcoming election. The people of Bengal have witnessed the tenure of Mamata Banerjee for the last 10 years. Tired of severe corruption by her administration, they are seeking a better option in the upcoming election. This thrust towards betterment led them to vote for the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. However, the situation has undergone a major shift within one year. Many corrupt leaders from the ruling Trinamool Congress have defected to the anti-incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party. The latter has provided them with electoral seats which led to political clashes and violence among their party members. The unusual hike in the price of necessary commodities and other products have also infuriated the people of Bengal. During lockdown, the leftists took to the streets to combat the economic impact of the pandemic. They undertook initiatives such as 'Sramajibi Canteens', where the poor could have meals at a very nominal price. During the time of the Cyclone Amphan, the left forces brought the people necessary relief. They have been vocal about the economic conditions of the middle class as well as the working class and migrant labourers. Sephologists are of the opinion that these actions can benefit the left in the upcoming election.

The candidates' list of the left has also surprised many. In West Bengal, the Left Front was often criticised for not promoting young and new faces in the frontline. But this election seems to be an exception. The left has a lot of young faces, active in student and youth politics, having excellent oratory skills to bout. These faces can be the trump card for the left in this election. Shuvam Banerjee, the national president of the AISF, the student wing of the Communist Party Of India, is one of the many prominent faces. Shuvam has multiple identities. He is a staunch orator, a brilliant student of Calcutta University, but above all, he is an excellent organiser of his party. This election, he is fighting from the Sonarpur South assembly, a place he is well acquainted with. He was the person who took care of community kitchens in some areas of South 24 Parganas. He provided emergency relief to many Amphan devastated areas in the district. Shuvam was the first person to introduce red flags in the state of Arunachal. This person can be one of the dark horses for the left in the upcoming election. Besides Shuvam, the ex-president of the JNU student union Aishi Ghosh will fight from Jamuria. Another JNU activist Dipsita Dhar, Jadavpur alumni Srijan Bhattacharya, Pritha Taa, the daughter of the martyr CPIM worker Pradip Taa will also contest this election from the CPIM.

If the new faces of the Left Front bring hope, the recent nationwide performance of the left in elections offer more optimism for the leftists. The popularity, both the CPI and CPIM are gaining from the national field, will surely help them contest this election.In recent times, CPI won 12 out of 13 seats in Moga Municipality in Punjab. Winning an entire municipality in a state, where leftists are not a primary force will boost their confidence in the Bengal election. Along with Bengal, the CPI has a good organisational hold in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In Kerala, the party is a determining factor in the Left Democratic Government with 19 seats, the second largest in the state. In Tamil Nadu, CPI has 2 MPs in the Lok Sabha. In the BJP ruled Karnataka, the party has won 56 Panchayats in recent times. The CPIM has also defeated their opponents in the recent Panchayat and Municipality election in Kerala. Pinarayi Vijayan led Left Democratic Front government is seeking to win political power in the state once again. In Karnataka, the party has won 231 Panchayat seats. It can therefore be said, the left forces are on the rise again, in both regional and national politics. The Bengal election, as well as the election in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, will be their litmus test.

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