The Telegraph
Thursday , May 22 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

CPM admits BJP jolt

Calcutta, May 21: The CPM leadership has admitted that it had failed to foresee the BJP’s surge in Bengal at the cost of the Left and that it was wrong in assuming that the Trinamul Congress would be affected by a change in voter preference, sources said.

The CPM state secretariat apparently came to such a conclusion at a meeting the party’s highest policy-making body in Bengal held at Alimuddin Street this morning. The meeting was held for a preliminary stocktaking of the results of the Lok Sabha elections, in which the Left managed to win just two seats in Bengal.

“The state secretariat today met for a preliminary assessment. We are concerned about the rise in the BJP’s vote share because the party got most of the votes at the Left’s expense. That’s why our party bled so profusely,” a CPM leader said.

Pointed out that the CPM had initially assessed that the BJP would cut into Trinamul’s votes, the leader said: “Yes. We had initially thought that the BJP, as a rightist party, would eat into Trinamul’s votes much more than ours. It was a wrong assessment. That’s what our party secretariat felt today.”

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the CPM had targeted BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at every rally, warning people of the “dangers” of supporting the party and reminding them of the Gujarat riots.

In private, CPM leaders had sought reassurance in the assumption that a rise in the BJP’s vote share would affect Trinamul the most. During private interactions with journalists, CPM leaders had often said that the four-cornered contest had made calculations difficult but they were expecting the Left to win some seats because of the BJP cutting into Trinamul’s votes.

The CPM leadership has convened a two-day meeting of its state committee at Alimuddin Street, beginning on June 2. The session will analyse reports from the party’s district units on what they thought were the reasons for the Lok Sabha poll debacle.

Another area of concern for the CPM that was discussed at today’s meeting was the demand by the rank and file for a change in the leadership, it was learnt. “The party took note of that. But nothing much happened beyond that,” a CPM leader said.