Message from Uluberia and Noapara

The bye-election results from the Uluberia Lok Szabha and the Noapara Assembly constituencies have a clear message for the CPI-M and the Congress. In both constituencies the BJP came second, the CPI-M third and the Congress came fourth. The Congress forfeited its security deposit at both places. The results indicate unerringly that the Bengal voter is losing his faith in the credibility of the CPI-M and the Congress as an opposition party. Their supporters in both rural, urban and semi-urban areas have switched their loyalty to the BJP as an opposition party.  The performance of the Congress, in particular, is disappointing to the extent that it seems to be heading for total irrelevance in the political life of the State. If Rahul and Sonia cannot revitalize the party under a better and imaginative leadership which has living contacts with the people and can carry all the factions together to oppose the excesses of the ruling party, the Congress is doomed. The CPI-M with its better organizational cohesion and mass activity is giving a better account of itself but is steadily losing ground to the BJP. The PCC president has failed to carry with him all the senior leaders of the party. Rather, the rift in the leadership has become all the more visible. The leadership of both the parties are satisfied with periodically issuing statements against the ruling party for its ‘undemocratic’ methods in winning elections, without being able to put up any challenge to it.
In addition, the CPI-M has the Shakespearian dilemma – to be or not to be with the Congress in opposing the Congress. There is a vertical split in the party down the middle. The present general secretary with the Bengal party behind him is strongly in favour of joining hands with the Congress in opposing TMC and the BJP. The former general secretary with the solid backing of the party’s Kerala unit is dead against any policy that seeks to join hands with the Congress in opposing the BJP. For the record, Prakash Karat and his group of supporters agree that the BJP is a greater danger than the Congress but the recognition of that reality does not lead them to accept the necessity of taking in the Congress along with other Opposition parties in jointly fighting the BJP. Such an ambivalence on a crucial political issue of the day can do harm not only the CPI-M but also to the prospect of uniting all secular and democratic forces on a common platform.

Thursday, 8 February, 2018