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

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Left Front Win in West Bengal

A far-reaching consequence of long Left Front rule has been the manner in which debate and discussion have been made subservient to the CPI(M) party line with the result that to mount any critique of entrenched positions is difficult due to the lack of space for autonomous thinking. The challenge from Saifuddin Chowdhury's Party for Democratic Socialism, its organisational weakness notwithstanding, has perhaps provoked the beginning of some changes within the CPI(M) and the LF. Buddhadev Bhattacharya alluded to this in the run-up to the elections. Whether the substantial issues are addressed or swept under the carpet yet again after the LF victory remains to be seen, but in the long run the CPI(M) has to come to terms with the changing conceptual prisms through which it has habitually viewed the world.

The West Bengal poll results have come as a surprise to many, includ-ing the ruling Left Front and the opposition. The reasons are different but there is that element of surprise that is common. For one no one thought that the LF would win by the margin that it did. The opposition was sure that the populace was tired of the LF and wanted a change.

Indeed, it can be safely argued that the central theme of election 2001 was change. This was taken to mean a change of regime. The LF government had stayed too long and democracy, it was argued, needed a break from the continuous rule of the LF. The media, or a substantial part of it, campaigned along these lines and an ambience suggesting the exit of the LF was built up.

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