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Three clubs of Left debacle dissectors

Calcutta, May 17: Two “geographical” reasons, three personality patterns.

If the blame game within the Left Front is revolving around whether “national” or “local” factors are to blame for the poll debacle, those advocating each position can be largely classified into three groups.

The most vocal belong to the despondent club of defeated MPs who have publicly said “national” issues (read Prakash Karat) are the main culprit.

Another section is the depleted ranks of elected candidates who are toeing the “local-factor” line trotted from Delhi, where the MPs are expected to spend more time now.

The third is a ginger group that was sceptical of the land-driven industrialisation initiative launched by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government. It has found in the result a prod with which to poke at the government.

Take the positions of Amitava Nandi and Gurudas Dasgupta. Nandi saw a “tactical” mistake in withdrawing sup- port to the UPA government and trying to foist a rag-tag front as an alternative, while Dasgupta blamed state-level fact-ors for “such havoc”.

Nandi and Dasgupta belong to the CPM and the CPI, respectively. But another key difference: Nandi has lost from Dum Dum while Dasgupta has won from Ghatal.

“I think the withdrawal of support (to the UPA) and the decision to not go with the Congress were justified…. It might have been better if we had withdrawn on economic issues. I don’t think that decision or the call for a third front played such havoc. It was a negative vote against us, essentially because of our failures, mistakes and non-performance here,” Dasgupta said.

For land minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah, who had been openly critical of the drive for land acquisition for industry initiated by Bhattacharjee and Nirupam Sen, that was what triggered the debacle. “All the trouble began with the hasty and forcible land acquisition in Singur and later (an attempt to do so in) Nandigram. It alienated the rural poor, particularly Muslims, who had misgivings on other issues. But the party did not pay heed to me.”

Not that the various sections are blaming only either local or national factors. Most concede that national as well as local issues contributed to the stunning loss of Left seats – it is the stress each side lays on a particular reason that makes the difference.

Rabin Deb, whose losing margin against Mamata shot up from 98,000 in 2004 to aro- und 2.5 lakh, referred to “a po- pular perception” about the government’s inability to handle situations like Lalgarh and Darjeeling after Nandigram.

“The defeat is a collective responsibility — Buddhada, Nirupamda, Bimanda and also the politburo members. There’s no question of blaming Karat alone,” Deb said.

But Deb pointed out that Manmohan Singh had far greater “credibility” than Karat’s new allies. “In contrast to Singh’s corruption-free image, people questioned the credibility of leaders such as Mayavati and Jayalalithaa,” he said.

Nandi said “the impact of state issues” could have been arrested but for “our inability to stop the Opposition alliance (because of Karat’s decision to withdraw support to Manmohan Singh).”

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