By Satyaki Chakraborty
Following three phases of polling in Bengal for the state assembly, I got a number of messages from my friends in Kolkata and others of Bengal expressing their dilemma as a supporter of the Left in choosing candidates in the ensuing poll. The problem is the concerned candidate of the Left including the CPI(M) is so hopelessly positioned, that the voting for him means wasting the vote. My friends are very much against the BJP, but at the same time, they are angry with Trinamool Congress for many of its activities including corruption of the TMC members and their highhandedness in dealing with the other opposition parties, especially the Left and the Congress.
This dilemma can be dealt with by the leftwing voters in Bengal who are not bound by party discipline by deciding on who is the biggest enemy to the Left at the present moment. The CPI(M), the biggest contingent of the Left has failed to take a total view of the political situation both in the country and the state by equating BJP and the Trinamool Congress on the same footing. The latest statement of the politburo of the CPI(M) says that the biggest task is to defeat BJP in the state assembly elections, but at the same time, for West Bengal, the party leaders say that the BJP can be fought only by defeating Trinamool Congress in this election. Reports of the three phases of polling indicate that the CPI(M) cadres cared more in fighting Trinamool than BJP.
The left supporters many of whom voted for BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections have to give a relook at their stand since the picture of national polity is more clear now and Bengal , for the RSS and the BJP is the final frontier which they have to cross to achieve their objective of finally doing away with the secular ethos of the Indian constitution. There is no grey area now. The road map of the Sangh Parivar is crystal clear. That is why the entire parivar including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah along with dozens of central ministers , have descended in Bengal to oust the Trinamool Congress led by the chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The far-reaching impact of the victory or defeat of Mamata has to be understood in the context of this national perspective and not in the limited area of state politics.
As of now, five more phases of polling are still left involving around 230 seats. The Left leaning voters in these remaining seats can choose the left and alliance candidates of the Congress and ISF where they are having fighting chance. But where the candidates are not in the battle at all, they should vote for Trinamool candidates. This is more or less in line of what the CPI(ML) secretary Dipankar Bhattachya has suggested. Dipankar is presently one of the most erudite leaders of the left. He has declared BJP as the main enemy of the CPI(ML) in Bengal in the assembly elections and in his understanding, the voters of the left will have to take the decision to vote for who is best placed to defeat BJP. In most cases, the candidates belong to Trinamool, that has to be recognised by the left voters.
In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the left did not get any seat and the voting figures show that the Left could not become second in any of the constituencies.. For Left the voting percentage was 6.7 per cent. Even if the votes belonging to left going to BJP come back in the assembly elections, that will not be enough to be close to the two main contenders. But in marginal seats, the left vote against the best anti-BJP candidate, will be helpful in reducing the number of winning saffron candidates.
Mamata is getting big support from most of the anti-BJP political parties. She has written a letter to the 14 opposition leaders including the Congress to unite for fighting the BJP. Most of the non-BJP opposition leaders have responded including the Congress Party. Mamata is fighting the battle for the entire non BJP opposition in West Bengal. The Left leaders in Bengal might be having serious differences with her mode of functioning, but at this moment, she is the staunchest fighter against this authoritarian Modi regime and her victory in Bengal will be a big jolt to the BJP juggernaut in achieving their objective of one party one nation, one religion.
In politics, equation between the political parties changes fast. The Congress and the CPI(M) fought a bitter battle in Bengal all through in Bengal and that continued till Trinamool Congress emerged under Mamata Banerjee. Only in 2016 assembly e lections in Bengal, the Left including the CPI(M) allied with the Congress to challenge Trinamool. In that elections, the BJP was not the main opposition party. It got only three seats. The CPI(M) is with the Congress and Trinamool at the national level against the BJP and this bodes well for the all pervasive unity of the anti-BJP forces against the Sangh Parivar.
For instance in Maharashtra, the CPI(M) and the CPI had a bitter relationship with Shiv Sena but after 2019 assembly elections, when the Shiv Sena led alliance government was formed, the CPI(M) supported that and that was fully justified. Shiv Sena chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has emerged as one of the key fighters against the BJP and it shows how the political narrative can change fast in a nation like India with such large number of both national and regional parties.
In the ensuing state assembly election in Bengal, all the voters who stand for the democratic and secular values can take the position that their preference will be for defeating the BJP in their constituency and vote for the best positioned anti-BJP candidate whoever he might be, belonging to the Left-Congress-ISF alliance or Trinamool. This is a more concrete follow up of no vote to BJP campaign which is prevalent in Bengal elections now among the concerned intelligentsia. All the electoral hype in favour of BJP about winning 200 seats created by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, will come to nothing on May 2 once the floating voters belonging to left and secular forces make a decisive choice against the BJP. (IPA Service)