Sharp polarisation between TMC and BJP led to West Bengal poll debacle, says CPI(M)

Besides identity politics & Bengali sentiment, we could not reach out to the people with our views properly, it says

Almost a month after the results of the West Bengal Assembly polls were declared, the State committee of the CPI(M) came out with its assessment on the humiliating defeat pointing out at a number of factors the primary being steep polarisation between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP.

“There has been sharp polarisation between the TMC and the BJP. This is probably the main reason for such results. Idealism, democracy and issues of lives and livelihood of the people have taken a back seat. It will be wrong to attribute the results to communal polarisation,” the State committee said.

The committee met on Saturday and 46 members participated in the assessment which described the reasons for its poor performance as both “political and organisational”. “Our call for an alternative government was rejected. We could not reach out to the people with our views properly. People did not have confidence in our front and policies,” it said in a statement on Sunday.

Both the TMC and the BJP resorted to “identity politics” which could not be countered, the CPI(M) said. The aggressive campaign of the BJP also brought up the issue of Bengali identity and freedom to the fore.

Data | Assembly election 2021: Trinamool Congress wins third straight term in West Bengal

“There was an anti-establishment feeling at the time the results were declared but the aggressive campaign resulted in anti-BJP feeling. In such circumstances people overlooked the issues of corruption and lawlessness and chose the TMC as the main anti-BJP force.”

The CPI(M), which could not win a single seat in the 2021 Assembly election, pointed out that the TMC has won majority of the seats won by both the Left front and the Congress in 2016.

“The Left Front had won 32 seats in 2016 of which the TMC won 23 seats and the BJP nine seats this time. The Congress won 44 seats in 2016 out of which the TMC won 29 seats and the BJP 15,” the statement said. It said the Trinamool was able retain 160 of the 209 seats it had won in 2016. The statement also said compared to the Lok Sabha elections, the CPI(M)’s poll percentage increased in 94 of the 138 seats where the party contested. The Left parties and the Congress failed to win a single seat. The TMC won a massive majority winning 213 seats and the BJP had to be satisfied with 77 seats.

The CPI(M) called for strengthening its mass organisations and appreciated the work of “Red volunteers” — a group of youths affiliated to the party who have reached out to people during the pandemic.

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