Rout of the Left

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 29.11.13

Even the staunchest supporter of Left Front would not have expected the party to win and form the new Howrah Municipal Corporation board. But even then, they never expected such a complete rout either. So far, results of 49 out of 50 wards of HMC have been declared in which CPM has managed to win only in two seats. The other partners of the Left Front, CPI, Forward Bloc, RSP and RCPI drew a blank.

In contrast, in the 2008 HMC election, CPM alone got a simple majority by bagging 26 wards out of 50. The other Front partners got a total of seven wards (CPI-3, FB-3, RCPI-1 and JD(S)-1). The most disgraceful thing to happen is that the Left that was at the helm of affairs at HMC for nearly three decades, has finished poor third in the 2013 HMC election, after Indian National Congress (INC). “It is shameful that this time the Front will not even get to be the main opposition party. The opposition leader will be selected from the Congress. In this election, we not only lost but was also reduced to insignificance in Howrah,” said a Left leader, who did not want to be named.

A review of election result after the by poll in Howrah parliamentary constituency held last year in Howrah town indicated that the Left was leading in four wards of south Howrah and three each in central Howrah, Shibpur and north Howrah. Accordingly, Left Front should have bagged at least 13 wards out of 50. But the recent election results show that CPM could only win a ward from south Howrah (ward 46) and another from central Howrah (ward 31).

In the last HMC election held in 2008, in the aftermath of Singur and Nandigram incidents that rocked West Bengal and when the popularity of Mamata Banerjee and her party was at its peak, Left Front had bagged 33 wards with the CPM winning 26, CPI 3, Forward Bloc 2, RSP one and JD(S) 1. In 2008 panchayat election, Left Front suffered a set back by losing a couple of Zilla Parisad seats in the fringe of Howrah town. But in the HMC election of 2008, Trinamul came third, after INC. While INC got nine wards, TMC bagged seven. The Congress got the honour of being the leading opposition party and the opposition leader was elected from the Congress. However, later, the opposition leader and two other Congress councillors joined TMC throwing the party into third position. “We have a traditional vote bank in Howrah town. This vote bank does not shift its loyalty to other parties in any circumstances,” said Soumen Dey, secretary, district Congress committee.

Amrita Ghosh