By Tirthankar Mitra
Led by CPI(M) Left Front seems to have a leg up in next year’s panchayat polls in the state. The change of political fortune is thanks to the windfall it received from the recent series of intra-party squabbles with state saffron from camp and Trinamool Congress washing its dirty linen in the public.
Such bickerings have come as a boon to the front as an opportunity to cut into BJP and TMC votes after the Left was down and out following 2019 parliamentary polls and 2021 state Assembly election results which had apparently placed BJP in the saddle of principal Opposition outfit against ruling Trinamool Congress regime. Both Trinamool, the ruling dispensation and BJP the principal Opposition outfit have suffered credibility.
Having won 18 seats in 2019 parliamentary elections and being ahead in 121 Assembly segments, BJP seemed poised to sweep 2021 Assembly polls. Even if a resurgent Trinamool Congress caught it on the hop and reduced it to 70-odd seats in 2021 Assembly elections, the saffron camp posed a threat to the ruling dispensation while reducing the front and Congress to political irrelevance.
But fresh wind flowed into Left Front’s sails as the saffron camp.hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when two senior leaders in Midnapur were caught in the act of raining blows on each other. Though Thakurdas Mirdhya and Tapas Mishra, the leaders in question were praised apart by party activists, the damage had been done.
The TMC did not cover itself with glory when sounds of explosions of bombs hurled at warring groups of the ruling dispensation occurred within the earshot of state urban development affairs and Kolkata mayor, Firhad Hakim. The minister was on a tour in Suri when two groups clashed over lifting sand from river bed.
Apart from lambasting the ruling TMC and saffron camp, the front leadership has been quick on the uptake. Endeavours to reach out to the jobless youth is on as is evident on the TET issue.
The Left leaders are conspicuous by their presence and support to the groups of demonstrators who should have been teachers. The Left leaders have played a significant role in the process of unearthing corruption in the teachers recruitment by arguing the matter within the court room and beyond it.
Given the seething resentment of the demonstrators and their family members against the TMC regime on the cash for jobs issue, the front is likely to reap rich political dividends in the rural polls next year. The recent arrest of 30 demonstrators on non bailable charge near chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s office at Camac Street in the heart of the city and their subsequent release on bail by a city court with caustic observation on the police’s conduct have fuelled sympathy for the demonstrators and supporters to their cause
Incidentally, many of the demonstrators are from the rural areas where the panchayat polls will be held be next year. This is a factor over which the ruling dispensation should lose some sleep especially as the parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held a year after the panchayat polls.
Students Federation of India and Democratic Youth Federation of India, the students and youth wings of CPI(M) activists have been deployed to close ranks with the TET aspirants. Several senior left leaders including state party secretary Md Salim and front chairman Biman Bose have met the demonstrators and empathized with them.
Plans are being chalked out in the Left camp to rope in its peasants wing for giving greater momentum to Gram Jagao, Bangla Bachao (Save Bengal by waking up the villages) as this wing has the maximum penetration in the rural areas which will go the polls. Besides pointing out corruption in the functioning of the panchayats, it will mount a campaign to prevent Union government projects being passed off as state government schemes.
Operation Barga one of mainstays of CPI(M)’s support base during the Left rule, is being surreptitiously replaced by “contract farming’ in the Trinamool regime. This issue will be one of the focused areas in peasants wing campaign, it was learnt. The CPI(M) was turned into a non entity in Bengal politics after the 2021 assembly elections. In the last one and half years, the party has been able to regroup its ranks and the leaders are now making all efforts to capitalize on the corruption in the ruling party and the in fighting in the opposition BJP to make some breakthrough in the coming panchayat polls next year. (IPA Service)