I have seen the emergence of CPM in West Bengal as ruling party. Congress Party after Dr. BC Roy gradually lost its hold. CPM emerged indomitable as it forged an effective united front of all leftist parties. Division of votes stopped enhancing the win-ability of united front. And the Congress after the Sidhartha Sankar term weakened because of the formation of Mamata’s Trinamool Congress. If Mamata could have got the chance to lead the combined Congress, she had the required fire and honesty to throw out Leftists. Unfortunately for West Bengal, it didn’t happen. Over the years, Mamta because of her own shortcomings and immaturity born out of frustrations is no more the earlier firebrand Mamta. However, with the land requisitions for industrial development at Singur, Mamta again brought her at the center stage. Mishandling of Nandigram by Budhha, the CM has made her stronger.
Nandigram has exposed the leftists and its way to deal with the people dissenting with it. Nandigram has become the hottest issue from he streets of Kolkata to the corridors of parliament. It must be for the first time in left rule that the happenings in Nandigram forced even the left leaning intellectuals to join a peaceful march from College Street to Esplanade. Thousands of the city’s students, teachers and activists joined writers like Mahashweta Devi, filmmakers like Aparna Sen and artists like Jogen Choudhury to register a silent protest against the atrocities in Nandigram.
CPM rules through cadres that can be totally armed if needed. Its cadres control all the factories and enterprises and decide whom to employ and who is to be promoted. Even CEOs and managers remain in office till they keep on agreeing to what the cadre desires.
A TV programme from the Town Hall of Kolkata by NDTV on Nandigram on Sunday made me feel that the middle class of Kolkata is really aggrieved and disenchanted. However, I wonder why the people have realized it so late. Columnists after columnists are writing against Left in West Bengal, particularly CPM and specifically about Buddha who to me appears to be a frustrated man now. Many of the alliance partners have opposed the methodologies adopted and the statements made by Buddha. The respected governor from Gandhi family expressed his remorse. Strangely, Manmohan Singh maintains his silence because of political necessity.
Left was always like that. It never allowed the followers of opposing political parties to vote even in 60s, wherever it had the cadre’s strength. No one can oppose them on any issue, if he wants to live in the state and carry out his business for living. All sorts of mafia- be it builders, contractors, or material suppliers flourished under its protection. Leftists have mastered the art of winning election. The same CPM that is talking so enthusiastically for the need of industrial development and is ready to do everything to help Tata Motors and many others did everything to make the lives of industrialists and managers in 60s and 70s miserable. I wonder how Tatas decided to set up manufacturing plants in West Bengal.
When Lalu and Rabri ruled Bihar for fifteen years I used to wonder how would the end come and if it would at all come. I also keep on wondering the same about the left that has ruled West Bengal for last 30 years. Will there be no end to its rule? Why don’t the people of West Bengal who are much more enlightened and informed than those of Bihar bring a change of the government?
I read a news item in Telegraph today:
Five local CPM leaders were trussed up in their office, beaten and paraded with garlands of slippers and cowdung cakes around their necks in party bastion Burdwan. They were accused of favouritism in an official list of the poorest of poor. The thrashing – the third in the district in a little over a month since ration riots swept through south Bengal – took place this morning at Saloon Mollahpara, in the Khandaghosh area, about 140km from Calcutta.
Can this be the beginning of the end? I feel happy, though I know the end is not near. May be, it may not come even for many years.