An elderly lady carris the Trinamul flag after the party won the Diamond harbour municipality. Picture by Bibhas Lodh
Calcutta, Sept. 24: The CPM today drew a blank in the Burdwan and Chakdah municipalities — former bastions from which the party had pulled out on the day of polling — a drubbing that the leadership admitted was more an organisational failure than the result of Trinamul terror.
Both municipalities were under the CPM’s control for many years and so, “rigging and hooliganism” by Trinamul could not be the sole cause of the “humiliating defeat”, Left sources said.
“We must admit that our leaders in Burdwan and Chakdah (in Nadia) failed to boost the organisation. Trinamul terror is there. But what’s the use of always citing that as an excuse for not winning in places where our party had called the shots for decades,” said a CPM leader close to state secretary Biman Bose.
“People are not buying our argument that we are losing because of Trinamul hooliganism. Our party has to take another look at the fact that vast sections of the electorate have now moved away from us. They are not responding to our campaign as the credibility of our organisation has eroded,” the leader added.
At a CPM state committee meeting earlier this month, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had urged leaders to junk the terror excuse and face Trinamul with all their might by overcoming organisational shortcomings.
An Alimuddin Street source said today: “Strong words, but they had little impact.”
The CPM failed to win a single of Burdwan municipality’s 35 seats and the Chakdah civic body’s 21 seats. In the 2008 civic polls, the CPM had won 30 seats in Burdwan and 20 in Chakdah.
Within an hour of Saturday’s elections, the CPM had withdrawn its candidates for the two municipal polls citing rigging and intimidation by Trinamul. The CPM had said it was forced to take the decision as its cadres and poll agents were being “beaten up and driven out of booths”.
A CPM leader said today: “Our party’s refrain is bahattorer santrash (terror in 1972). We had withdrawn our candidates as organisationally, we were weak then. We still won 14 Assembly seats. But we couldn’t manage to get a single seat in Burdwan and Chakdah this time. So, why rake up the same old argument?”
In 1972, the Left had withdrawn from the Assembly elections, citing rigging by the Siddhartha Shankar Ray-led Congress. As a mark of protest, the CPM had boycotted the Assembly for the next five years.
According to a party leader, the “constant allegations” of Trinamul “terror” had made CPM leaders and cadres apprehensive of failure to counter Trinamul.
“We have been talking about santrash all the time. But in doing so, our leaders are suffering from manashik santrash (terror in the minds). This way, we have become weak and fearful of Trinamul. This is affecting our organisation,” the CPM leader added.
A CPM leader in Burdwan, however, said those in the party who were criticising the move to withdraw “should keep in mind that resistance in Panihati had failed to deliver results”, betraying fissures in the party that have widened since the district-wise analysis of the panchayat poll results.
“In Burdwan and Chakdah, we didn’t win any seat. But what were our gutsy leaders of North 24-Parganas doing after being on the ground on the day of elections in Panihati? Our party has won only two of the 35 seats there,” the leader said.