A party that swayed West Bengal for more than three and half decades, in 2011 Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress ousted the left front government led by the CPIM. This was a big political headline of the state. The friendly Alliance of CPIM and Congress could not find their road map in the 2016 Assembly election.
Singur is in Hooghly district of WB. In 2006, the then Government of WB led by CPIM decided to acquire 997 acres of land to set up TATA Nano Motors Factory in the district. There was no compensation taken for the landless agriculture workers and many rural households who were indirectly dependent for their basic needs on land and agricultural activities. Agitations start at the location against the then state Government’s proposal.
Many political parties, NGOs and intellectuals joined together in the protest against the police atrocities. Mamata Banerjee announced an indefinite hunger strike against the land acquisition at Singur.
In 2006–2007, the left front government faced severe headwinds from anti-land acquisition movements against the government, resulting in Mamata Banerjee led TMCs victory in the election.
Since the defeat in 2011, the CPIM has consistently declined in its votes share and currently, the left does not have a single seat. The party’s vote share has declined from 33.3% in 2009 to a mere 3%. The left rapidly went downhill after the government was voted out of power in 2011 from the state.
The left front couldn’t connect with masses and it failed to lead constructive social movements when they were in power. Every time, the party talks about capitalism and globalisation, which is irrelevant among the masses. It is also unable to transform the leadership to the youth across the nation.
People do vote for new ideas and issues which are relevant to their livelihood and interest. In 1996, the CPIMs decision not to participate in the government was a historic blunder. The comrades didn’t allow the then West Bengal CM to become the Prime Minister and later Jyoti Basu and his party accepted that it was a “historic blunder”. The party could have expanded its organisation at the national level.
After 34 years of rule, the red was dethroned by the TMC and over time, the red faded away from West Bengal. The political sphere of West Bengal has changed now. The left front that ruled seven consecutive terms has lost its identity.
The BJP has gained more votes than the left front. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had 17% of the votes share in WB and in 2019 the BJP got 40.25%. The lotus has started blooming now. Mamata Banerjee’s s TMC also gained 3% votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
The left has lost a big number of votes because all voters of the left front have shifted to the BJP and TMC. The BJP is rightly able to make a deep inroad on the upper-middle-class non-Bengali business people.
With less than a year to go for the West Bengal Assembly Election’s, political parties are tempting their voters through polarisation and political appeasements. The left front struggles to get back their own lost identity in Bengal to regain it’s lost identity; it needs a reinvention.
In 2016, the TMC were able to dislodge the alliance of CPIM and Congress from Bengal easily. In 2016 BJP couldn’t perform well, but the 2019 Lok Sabha results make the BJP a tough opponent against the ruling TMC government for the upcoming 2020 assembly polls. Mamata Banerjee’s principal challengers are the BJP. Let’s see which way the wind blows.