Only a few months ago, Prakash Karat, the CPI(M) General Secretary, was dreaming of becoming the king maker by toppling congress govt and forming a third front. His obstinate stance on nuclear deals issue led to withdrawal of support to UPA govt. The left was dam sure that the Govt will not survive and that it will get a chance to dictate who will be the next PM.
However, Left’s misplaced overconfidence was brought down by political managers of Congress. Man Mohan Singh won the vote of confidence, went into the elections, taking the Left front head on. The result was devastating for CPM led left front. Heavy defeats in May 2009 Loksabha election in Kerala and West Bengal, their strong holds, has left the Left shell shocked. Even five months later, it has not overcome the shock, as is evident by the recent round of by-elections in these two states.
The leftist parties always had their pockets of strength across the country. In Kerala, the left combine has been sharing power alternately with Congress. But in West Bengal and Tripura, it is enjoying an uninterrupted run in power for nearly 30 years. Even in Andhra, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, it had a notable presence. However, there seems to be a definite downslide in their support.
The left front has been a strong cadre-based formation. The strong organizational set-up, often accused of using strong arm-twisting strategies, particularly in West Bengal, has helped it to cling on to power for more than 30 years. However, during the post liberalization period, the party seems to be caught between the socialist ideals and the market forces. Its faux pass in Nandigram on Tata’s Nano project is the best example. A strong public unrest on the land acquisition issue has been expertly usurped by Mamta Banarjee of Trinmool congress.
Congress has now come openly against the left front. Earlier, the compulsions of anti-BJP politics meant that it had to seek help from CPM-led alliance. Now that the congress is no more dependent on them at the centre, it is full-heartedly with Trinmool congress to throw the left front out of the saddle.
The communism, which at one point ruled nearly half of the world, has been rejected virtually from every where. It has been surviving in India because of peculiar socio-political scenario. But now it seems as if the days of Left are over. Moreover, the leaders like Karat seem to be clueless as to how to resurrect the party. They now seem to be awaiting their own route in coming 2011 elections in West Bengal!
Malhar V. Lathkar