BENGAL POLITICS: Blame on improper correction – of an improper moral and parochial Bengal State policy ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, June 5: CPM state secretary Biman Bose today discounted the possibility of immediate resignation by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee over the civic poll debacle but admitted that the party had failed to implement its rectification campaign “properly” in Bengal.
“The question does not arise. The matter has not been referred to the central committee. It has not been discussed in the state committee,” Bose said, replying to questions whether Bhattacharjee, who skipped the politburo meeting, will resign.
Bhattacharjee had offered to quit after the Lok Sabha poll setback last year. This time, although the CPM has been quoting statistics to claim some “improvement”, successive setbacks have prompted suggestions that the chief minister has lost the popular mandate for governance.
Bose submitted a preliminary report to the politburo on the reasons behind the Left Front’s civic poll defeat. Sources said that after the report was submitted, some politburo members expressed their views briefly and said the defeat was “very worrying” and required a detailed discussion.
It was decided that the matter would be taken up during the next politburo meeting on July 4-5 after the CPM state committee completes a detailed review of the reasons behind the defeat.
Asked why the Left had failed to show any significant improvement despite undertaking a rectification campaign, Bose said: “The campaign has not been implemented in letter and spirit so far. The effort is on. We have not been able to implement it properly.”
Bose sought to state that the failure to implement the rectification document prepared by the central leadership of the party could be one of the reasons for the Left’s “below-expectations” show in the municipal polls.
The CPM had started a rectification drive after the drubbing in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls to weed out “non-communist” trends among cadres and leaders with the aim to re-connect with the masses.
“We still have to work and establish connection with the masses,” Bose said. CPI general secretary A. B. Bardhan had said yesterday that the Left Front had got a bit “swollen-headed” and got “alienated from the people”.
Bose, however, refrained from reacting to Bardhan’s remarks. “I don’t comment over what other leaders have said.”
In public, most politburo members were evasive about the civic poll outcome, underling that it was not on the agenda. “There was a preliminary report on the municipal polls. The politburo decided to go into the review after the state committee reviews it. The main discussion is to prepare the outline for the resolution to be placed at the extended central committee in August in Vijayawada,” politburo member Sitaram Yechury said.
However, another politburo member, M.K. Pandhe, said: “There will be a preliminary discussion.”
Comrade’s case shrinks – Opposition unity would have beaten Left in more wards – so, divide and rule, as did the erstwhile British and replicate this policy with the ‘Gorkhas and Adivasis’ of the North for they will all so easily fall into Bengal’s political traps ?!!
BY ANINDYA SENGUPTA
Calcutta, June 5: Comrade Biman Bose, your 22-to-33 vital statistic is shrinking by the day.
The Left’s tally in the Calcutta corporation would have been far fewer than the measly 33 wards it eventually bagged had the Trinamul Congress and the Congress fought the civic elections together.
CPM state secretary Bose had been holding aloft the figure 33 — which is higher than the 22 the Left would have won if last year’s Lok Sabha poll results were to be extrapolated in the wards —as evidence that his front had improved its position compared with 2009.
However, according to figures collated by the State Election Commission, the Congress and Trinamul have polled the majority of votes in at least six wards which the Left eventually won because its candidate bagged the single-largest number of votes (see chart).
The same would have happened in one more ward, according to figures collected by The Telegraph from the candidates. The State Election Commission has yet to give the break-up in 20 more wards, which raises the possibility that the full picture could be worse for the Left.
If the full figures for the seven wards are taken into account, it becomes clear that a united Opposition would have confined the Left to not more than 26, considerably weakening Bose’s argument against calling the early elections demanded by Mamata Banerjee.
“The results of the Lok Sabha elections show that we were ahead of Trinamul Congress in 22 of the 141 wards of Calcutta. This time we have got 33,” Bose had said on the day the results were announced, explaining the “improvement”.
Bose’s wafer-thin statistical edge will become slimmer if two more wards where the results were too close enter the picture. In wards 92 and 109, won by the CPI and the CPM, if the votes of Trinamul and the Congress are added, they fall short of that of the winners by just 66 and 67 votes.
“There’s no doubt that the Left’s numbers would have gone down drastically if there was an alliance between the Congress and Trinamul,” state Congress working president Pradip Bhattacharya said. “The vote division enabled the CPM to win some wards of Calcutta. But we were helpless and had to field candidates after Trinamul broke the alliance.”
“We can’t help it if the Opposition splits its vote,” CPM state committee member Rabin Deb said. “But we are studying the results and the wards where such things happened.”
In east Calcutta’s ward 36, CPI candidate Mosumi Ghosh won because of the Congress-Trinamul vote split. The votes the two parties got are more than what Ghosh polled.
In ward 46, the Congress fielded a “weak” candidate and lent unofficial support to an Independent, described as its “dummy”. It paved the way for CPM nominee Sheila Kapoor’s victory.
In ward 47, the Left-backed Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate Suman Singh got 900-odd votes less than the Congress-Trinamul combined score.
In central Calcutta’s ward 59, the Left candidate polled 11,989 votes, over 1,800 less than the combined votes of Trinamul and the Congress.
Javed Khan, Trinamul’s leader of the Opposition in the CMC and who was tipped to be the mayor, lost by a narrow margin to the CPI’s Farzana Choudhury in ward 64 as the Congress’s Shammi Jahan ate into his votes.
Here, too, the combined votes of the Congress and Trinamul exceed the Left’s, a tale repeated in wards 75 and 94, which is close to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s Assembly constituency Jadavpur.
Although the Congress proved a spoiler in some wards, it gave Trinamul the chance to have a straight fight with the Left in 33 wards by not putting up candidates.
“Trinamul would have found the going tough if Congress nominees were there in these 33 seats. That way, the Trinamul chief should be grateful to us,” said a Congress leader.
State Trinamul president Subrata Bakshi said the Left would have fared worse had there been an alliance.
“Yes, we lost some seats due to this. But the CPM always tries to divide the Opposition,” Bakshi said.
Thank you, ‘thank-you’ rally
Trinamul Congress supporters took out rallies across Calcutta on Saturday evening to celebrate the party’s civic poll success. The Telegraph walked with three of them
Did they remember Mamata Banerjee’s promise and leave one flank of the road free?
Yes. Half the Nirmal Chunder Street was left to traffic. About 250 people led by MP Sudip Bandopadhyay walked only about 100 metres through the busy road and slipped into the lanes and bylanes of Ward 51. They did emerge for about two minutes on SN Banerjee Road, where they blocked the entire thoroughfare before moving into the lanes again.
Concern for your ears:
There were about half-a-dozen loudspeakers, but not the sort of din one would usually associate with the Opposition party.
Sudip went into former Congress chief minister B.C. Roy’s house and garlanded his bust.
Harish Chatterjee Street
Did they remember Mamata’s promise?
The procession stuck to the lanes of the Kalighat-Hazra area. When it passed through the wider and busier Harish Mukherjee Road, a flank was left open.
What we saw:
A new umbrella brand, called TMC.
A beaming Mamata waving at the procession as it passed her Harish Chatterjee Street home, her mother by her side.The smile vanished as photographers pleaded with her to position herself better for their lenses. In she went in a huff.
Did they remember Mamata’s promise?
Through the lanes and bylanes again, not disturbing evening traffic.
When the marchers did emerge briefly on Bidhan Sarani and Aurobindo Sarani, the leaders ensured their comrades did not break the invisible cordon.
Concern for your ears:
Loudspeakers, but with Rabindrasangeet wafting out. Never mind the interruptions by cries of “Maa, mati, manush”.
What we saw:
Balloons in Trinamul colours and women in saris with the party symbol lining their borders. Not to be outdone, the men wore panjabis with the flowers hanging over their bellies.
The balloons going up in the evening sky “as a symbol of peace”. The marchers sang We shall overcome.
AND IN BENGAL’S DARK POLITICAL SIDE
CPM man killed – had it been in Darjeeling then the Bengal media would have gone wild, but here just a passing one line mention – life cheap in Bengal or politicking more important ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
(Syntax remixed for purpose and clarity)
Chinsurah, June 5: A CPM local committee member was shot dead in Murshidabad’s Burwan this afternoon.
The murder took the number of CPM activists killed since Wednesday’s civic poll results to five.
CPM 5 beaten up in Hooghly
Five CPM supporters were beaten up by Trinamul Congress activists today after one of them allegedly tried to force shops shut in a Hooghly bazaar to protest an attack on his house during a victory rally by Mamata Banerjee’s party last night.
The clash took place on the outskirts of Tarakeswar where Trinamul has taken control of the municipal board for the first time since it was formed in 1972.
Over 200 Trinamul supporters marched through the villages on the fringes of the Tarakeswar municipal area last night to celebrate their victory.
Police said they had hurled stones at the house of the CPM’s Dhaniakhali local committee member, Saukat Ali.
Around 9.30am today, Ali, who also owns a grocery in the bazaar at Dhaniakhali, famous for handloom saris, began pressuring other shopkeepers to down their shutters.
Some of them joined him and blocked a road. But several others resisted.
As an argument raged, over 100 Trinamul activists armed with swords, sticks and axes pounced on Ali and his supporters.
The 42-year-old grocer fractured his right leg and right arm. Another CPM supporter, Manas Ghosal, 34, was injured in the head. Ghosal had to be given 14 stitches on the head.
Ali said from his hospital bed: “Trinamul goons tried to kill us.”
Stationery store owner Somnath Chatterjee said people had joined the Trinamul activists in resisting “the attempt to enforce a bandh”.