Left concern over reverses in West Bengal

Marcus Dam

KOLKATA: The leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in West Bengal met at an emergency meeting of the party’s State secretariat here on Tuesday, a day after its Polit Bureau expressed its deep concern over the “serious reverses” suffered by the party and its Left partners in the State.

Among those present were Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee; Biman Bose, secretary of the CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee; and Industries and Commerce Minister Nirupam Sen — all members of the party’s Polit Bureau.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Bose called on veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu at his Salt Lake residence and briefed him on the discussions at Monday’s Polit Bureau meeting in New Delhi.

The State secretariat meeting came five days ahead of the crucial meeting of the party’s State Committee where the dismal performance of the CPI(M) in the Lok Sabha elections will be reviewed with an eye to taking corrective steps.

The CPI(M) State secretariat was informed of the deliberations at the Polit Bureau that had noted with concern the Left debacle in the State as well as in Kerala and had suggested a serious examination of the reasons for the reverses suffered by the State Committees concerned.

The party leadership has observed that both national and State-specific factors are responsible for the CPI(M)’s poor performance in the polls.

Besides what CPI(M) leaders here have described as a “wave” of support for a stable government at the Centre that resulted in a pro-Congress vote, local issues were also a determining factor in the State as was the swing in the minority vote away from the Left parties in the State.

One State-specific issue that could have impacted the voting pattern in West Bengal that is being argued is the political spin-off of the contentious debate over the acquisition of farmland for industry.

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