West Bengal Civic Elections Mamata Matters Commies In Tatters
One may describe it as a wishful thinking or rabid anti-communism, but the fact is that by winning the civic elections in West Bengal with prodigious margins Mamata Banerjee has undoubtedly demolished the “Berlin Wall” of West Bengal and has sounded the death knell for communism not only in West Bengal but in India as a whole. Way back in 1984, Mamata had begun the demolition process almost single-handedly by defeating the veteran CPI-M leader Somnath Chatterjee in the Lok Sabha election from the Jadavpur constituency in South Kolkata. So, no one should be left in doubt that whenever the State Assembly elections are held in West Bengal, in 2011 or earlier, it will be Mamata Banerjee once more who will have the last laugh. The CPI-M will be left with its trademark excuse in electoral defeats: Aamra manoos ke bojhate parini (We have failed to convince the people).
In this victory in Kolkata, Mamata also won over Home Minister Chidambaram by getting the Government of India agreed to order a CBI inquiry into the devastating Railway accident near Jhargram in West Medinipur district of West Bengal, in which 148 passengers of the Jnaeshwari Express heading to Kurla (Mumbai) from Howrah were killed and hundreds of others injured. It will be puerile on the part of the CPI-M leader to describe the defeat in the civic poll as nothing more than a 17 per cent victory for the Trinamool Congress. As Derek O’Brien of Mamata’s Party said in a TV debate on June 2: “Let the CPI-M say that we won only 17 per cent of votes or seats in the polls. But if they drive along National Highway No 34 from Kolkata to Siliguri, they will find only green flags fluttering all the way.” Green is the colour of the party and it was green abeer (gulal), which was in evidence all day in West Bengal from morning till late in the evening, not the red abeer.
Having witnessed the demise of communism in the land of its birth, the Soviet Union, one can vouch that the end of communism is normally bereft of any violence, contrary to the massive killings indulged in by Lenin, Stalin and others for bringing victory of this Marxist philosophy. Only two young people were killed in Moscow in August 1990 when communism ended in the Soviet Union. We will discuss the statistics a little later, but it would be worthwhile to discuss the future of communism in this country. Only West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura have communist governments now. In Kerala, it will be the turn of the Congress Party to win the State Assembly elections, the CPI-M having won it a few years ago. The communist rule in West Bengal is all but over, and that is why the CPI-M will not devour the Mamata bait for an early Assembly elections.
Only Tripura will be left with a communist government but it is a small state located in one corner of the country. Whom will we describe as Mikhail Gorbachev of India? Prakash Karat or Somnath Chatterjee? It is for the people to decide next year. Since Kolkata has been the Moscow of the communists so far, it will be instructive to study the figures with respect to the Kolkata Corporation. Of the 141 seats, Trinamool has won a stupendous 95 seats, good 53 seats more than before.
The CPI-M, which is now in power at the Corporation, ended up with only 33 seats, a good 27 seats less than before, and which had made Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharjee, the Mayor. Now someone from Trinamool will adorn this seat. The Congress Party, which had only 15 seats before, is now left with a poor ten and the BJP retained its three seats won from the Burrabazar area.
Interestingly, the CPI-M (the Left front to be precise) has lost eight of the 14 seats it won from the State Assembly constituency now represented by Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya. The major urban hubs won by the Trinamool include Salt Lake, Bidhannagar, Chinsura, Srirampur, Baidyabati, Tarakeswar, Chandan Nagar, Naihati, Bhatpara, Memari (Burdwan), etc. Many towns in North Bengal too voted for Trinamool and in fact one could describe the extent of victory by this party as mind-boggling. The districts involved are apart from Kolkata and South 24-Parganas, Hooghly, Burdwan, Nadia, Birbhum, Murshidabad, East Medinipur, West Nedinipur, Bankura, Malda, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri.
The Congress retained its position in the Murshidabad district but in the Jalgai Lok Sabha constituency, from where Union Finance Minister and State Congress Chief Pranab Mukherjee is elected for the Lok Sabha, his party drew a blank. Mukherjee, who had castigated Mamata only a few days ago, has now congratulated her with a message saying all is forgotten and forgiven.
Mamata has demanded early elections for the State Assembly which the Left Front has expectedly rejected. Meanwhile, the Trinamool chief has announced that the party would celebrate “victory day” on July 21 only and not before. This is because it is a “martyr’s day” for her party and also the Congress since 13 people were gunned down in the 1990s by the Left Front government on that date.
By Arabinda Ghose