Civic poll trends

The results of the seven civic bodies that went to polls recently confirm the supremacy of the TMC, the gradual wiping out of the Left and the Congress and prove that the BJP’s vote tally at the Contai (South) Assembly by-poll the other day was nothing more than a flash in the pan. The Trinamool Congress’ winning spree was equal in both the plains and the hills. For the first time, the party shattered the Congress bastion at Domkal, capturing 18 of the 21 seats. The BJP failed to open its account here. Another Congress bastion in the north, Raiganj, also fell to TMC, which won 24 of the 27 seats. But the Trinamool’s greatest success was in the hills where it wrested the Mirik municipality from the GJM and for the first time made its entry into the Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong civic bodies.
Despite their alliance, neither the Congress nor the CPM could prevent their marginalization in the State politics. Their blind opposition to the TMC did not get the voters’ support. This was evident from the fact that the Congress lost the Raiganj seat, a traditional Congress bastion. It also sounded a warning bell to CPM’s Mohammed Selim who holds the Raiganj Lok Sabha seat now. Unless the Left and the Congress take the necessary lessons from their defeat, they may well find themselves wiped out in 2021. That will not be a good thing for the State because democracy needs a powerful opposition.
The plight of the BJP is obvious. But all the same it will be unwise to ignore it. The people of West Bengal do not support communalism of any community. But the mischief-making potential of a systematic and organized propaganda to divide the people on communal lines cannot be underestimated. It would have been ideal if the TMC, the Left and the Congress had made a united front to counter communal propaganda and preach communal harmony. But since such a possibility is remote now, all the three parties should go in their own ways and work towards the same end. Opposition to TMC should not make the Left and the Congress blind to the necessity of this vital task. While the central leaders of the Congress and the TMC are currently exploring the possibility of setting up a common candidate of the entire opposition against the NDA in the coming presidential poll, the sense of that urgency does not seem to be shared by the Congress and the Left in West Bengal. That is a pity.

Wednesday, 17 May, 2017