Changes in our favour since 2011 polls: Biman Bose
West Bengal's Left Front chairman Biman Bose conceded that many of those who switched allegiance to the Trinamool Congress three years back are yet to return to the Communist fold but saw a "little change" favouring the opposition in the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls.
Bose claimed the Trinamool did not seem to be "comfortable" as it was during the 2011 assembly election when the Left got decimated after a 34-year uninterrupted rule in the state.
"So far, the political situation has not changed totally. But it is evident that the Trinamool is not as comfortable as it was in 2011. The outcome of the polls will not be a repeat of 2011".
"It is a fact that political elements, those who supported the Trinamool in 2011, they have started criticising the party, but that doesn't mean they have all shifted their allegiance from that side to the Left. However, it is evident that there is a little change," said Bose, the state secretary of the Left spearhead Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), in an interview to IANS at the party's Alimuddin Street office.
According to the veteran Left leader, the change stemmed from the "unkept promises" of the Trinamool, its attack on "the democratic set-up and norms" and efforts to "subdue" the Left by establishing a "rule of terror".
As many as 147 Left leaders and cadres have been killed, with 16,000 of its activists hiding inside makeshift camps due to violence unleashed by the ruling Trinamool.
Accusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of resorting to "lies" with regard to her government's performance, Bose said there was nothing "positive" about the regime, which has "failed" to create jobs, ensure minimum support price for the peasants, 89 of whom committed suicide because they could not recover the cost of farming, while there was anarchy in education, institutes and mass copying during examinations.
Asked about the state of affairs in his own party, which has seen revolts and subsequent expulsion of leaders like Laxman Seth, the CPI-M's face during the Nandigram movement and its long-time MLA and popular muslim leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah, Bose replied: "When leaders of a party are expelled, it gives an initial jerk. But that cannot be a permanent feature".
"Workers, activists gradually realise that those who cannot follow party discipline, have no room in the party. Therefore, the effect is only temporary".
To a query whether the summary expulsions of the duo would adversely affect the party's prospects in the Lok Sabha polls, Bose said: "I can't say."
The 73-year-old marxist said the rectification measures in the CPI-M have started yielding "good results".
"A small section of population was very much disturbed with the behaviour of our lower level party activists. They now understand that we are adopting certain measures to rectify them.
"But if we feel, they (the cadres gone astray) are beyond rectification,we just oust them from the party or do not renew their membership. That is liked by the people, who were disturbed due to such behaviour of our party cadres."
The Left has also found itself at the wrong end of defections of organisational leaders, MLAs, and elected members of panchayats and municipalities to the Trinamool.
Besides, the Samajwadi Party (SP) recently snapped a over three-decade-long association with the combine and fielded candidates on its own for the polls.
Bose, however, refused to accept that the defections and loss of a partner, has made the Left weak or "damaged" its credibility.
"Some may have joined others, but that doesn't mean the Left Front has become weak. The Left will always remain Left. Those who are feeling unwell in the company of the Left are leaving, but the Left is not in bad health".
Bose said the SP did not participate in the Left meeting which discussed the Lok Sabha candidates.
"Later, I heard that in a press meet, they said they are leaving the Left and putting up candidates. But they have not informed us formally. We have not received any letter from the SP saying they wouldn't remain in the Left."
(Sirshendu Panth and Anurag Dey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively)
(Posted on 05-04-2014)