ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ANDHRA PRADESH- Who Cares about Academic Autonomy

tion from 1952 to 1969. During this long period of Congress rule, the Corporation earned notoriety for maladministration, nepotism and corruption. The UF administered the Corporation from 1969 to 1972 and the Corporation has been in the direct control of the Left Front government from 1977 to 1985. Though civic workers and employees earned important economic concessions during this period, civic services showed no remarkable improvement. There was, of course, marked improvement in filtered water supply and improvement in the bustees were effected by the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority, But conservancy services or the drainage system showed little improvement. Often the piled-up garbage is removed at the personal initiative of the minister-in-charge. The people of Calcutta have suffered from bad condition of civic services. Nepotism and corruption were not curbed during this period. Moreover, the bureaucratic set-up of the civic administration was much strengthened during this period. Even on the eve of elections, this process continued. But there was little improvement in work. All these factors harmed the cause of the Left Front. So Calcutta people did not expect either the Left Front or the Congress(I) to alleviate their sufferings by improving the civic services. As the voters in West Bengal are polarised, the people of Calcutta voted according to their political loyalty. It was thought that local issues would influence the Calcutta voters, but this was not the case in the recent civic election. Though official figures have not yet been published, it is reported that 50 per cent of the total of 25 lakh voters cast their votes. Considering the inclement weather on the polling day and lack of any extra enthusiasm on the part of the people, the voting percentage was not insignificant. It has been reported in one daily newspaper that in the 41 Wards, the Left Front got 6,12,552 votes while the Congress(I) polled 6,31,021 votes, that is, the Congress(I) polled about 18,000 more votes than the Left Front. Another daily reported that the Congress(I) polled 5,95,410 votes while the Left Front polled 5,83,040 votes. In any case, the Congress(I) polled more votes. But in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress(I) had polled three lakh votes more than the Left Front. The Left Front Chairman Saroj Mukherjee has claimed that as the CPI(M) took lessons from the Lok Sabha elections, it has been able to correct its mistakes and has oriented its work in the interests of poor and middle class people who have supported the Left Front in the civic elections. How far this claim is justified is yet to be seen. From the pattern of votes in different Wards, certain general conclusions can be drawn. The CPI(M) and the Left Front regained their position in the areas inhabited predominantly by the refugee population which have been a traditional stronghold of the communists. This position had been lost in the last Lok Sabha elections; but in the civic elections, the Left Front won all the 14 seats. The majority of ''bustee' people also generally voted in favour of the Left Front. In the predominantly Hindi speaking areas, the Left Front lost heavily as was expected. But in many of the predominantly Muslim areas also the Left Front lost. This feature was also seen in the last Lok Sabha elections. A considerable section of the Muslim minority has moved away from the Left Front. In the areas predominantly inhabited by traditional "Calcuttans" in central and north Calcutta and even south Calcutta, the Left Front fared badly. Many erstwhile UF councillors who were supported by the Left Front suffered defeat. Not only the upper middle class but a section of the middle class also continue to stay away from the Left Front which has to probe deeply into the causes of this. Particular attention has to be paid to the Muslims.

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