Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mother of all civic elections in Bengal!

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Nowhere in the country perhaps has a civic election aroused so much interest as it is happening with the case of West Bengal this time. As many as 81 civic bodies across the state are going to the polls today to decide the next course of politics in the State. Never has New Delhi looked so interest in any civic elections in the country in the recent years and never has any civic election made so much buzz in the Parliament. It is the Left Front’s biggest litmus test as it takes on the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress and the Congress although the two main opposition parties have decided not to sail on the same boat.

An outsider might wonder what is so much to do with a civic election which is being termed as a virtual semi-final of the assembly polls stated for 2011. True, by normal conviction but the fact is never have elections been as interesting in Bengal. The result was always known for the past three decades where the Left front would emerge victorious. The only thing probably to bet on was whether they would get a two-third majority or do a clean sweep. To put in to perspective, Bengal elections had very little TRP value and the political pundits always go their predictions correct or probably there was no need to predict.

It all changed in May 2009 when the TMC-Congress combine sent a shocker to the Left winning more seats in the Lok Sabha polls. Bengal suddenly seemed to have opposed to having a Left Hand Drive in their cars. The Red Fort showed signs of decay and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee seemed to symbolise Mikhail Gorbachobe of India. The invinsibles had been defeated and the inevitable achieved. Mamata Banerjee who was just another politician in Bengal suddenly became the crusader of the Left in India. Since then even a small university election in Bengal has aroused interest.

In the run up to the civic polls Mamata Banerjee played a smart card with her alliance partners Congress forcing them to fall for her bargain or quit the alliance. The grand old party of India decided to opt for the latter option. This gives Mamata a chance to test her own strength before the Assembly elections. If she emerges victorious the Congress will have no options but to listen to her dicktats in the Assembly polls, In case she fails she will kiss and make up with the Congress. As for the Congress it still hasn’t completely closed doors on the Left in the background and might have the last laugh over Mamata.

The Left front on its part is trying hard to keep it’s fort intact and this election has become a pride issue for them. They are trying too hard and the desperation showed when Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee even appealed to the BJP voter to side with the Left. The supporters of the ‘untouchable party’ don’t seem to be untouchables for the Left anymore if it gives them control over the civic bodies. The great party of idealism has very little to showcase in terms of work done. It is to be seen if idealism can by them vote this time to because from a neutral point of view they have done little work to be voted back to power.


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