Much is being discussed on the recently declared West Bengal Panchayat election results. The main topic is whether it is a debacle for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or not. The debate is obvious due to the fact that after 1977, CPI(M) never faced a situation like the present one. There were various critical problems and multifaceted attacks on the party and LF government before but ultimately most of them was controlled or nipped off before any serious damage. It was mainly through the rock-solid party organization and the mass base which always paved the way for them. At least the party was never in the grim mood as it is today. What is so special this time? This question is analyzed by anti and pro industrialization thinker and activist groups. They are concluding according to their very own politics. It is also said by some that there is no need to be an expert to understand the politics of the situation because the answers are blowin’ in the wind. Only the CPM does not want to listen to them.
The anti-land acquisition groups are asking CPI(M) to clarify the following: will they continue caring big capital or peasants-workers interest? Clinging on to the government at any cost or leading working people in their struggle? Embracing right-wing opportunism or leading various struggles and movements through out the country? The pro-land acquisition and industrialization groups are saying: industrialization is okay but the procedure followed by the government (read CPM) is faulty. Loosing some seats does not nullify the people’s verdict of 2006. In a democracy, people’s mandate is final but the people always do not deliver their verdict through thoughtful analysis but many a time gets carried away by emotional surge. The peasant front which was the backbone of the party is stagnant by the lack of peasant movements and the opposition fully utilized the opportunity. The difference between the government agenda and the party agenda got mixed up which substantially depleted the party’s credibility in the eyes of the people. Interestingly, both groupings have agreed on one point. The responsibility lies with the leaders who must have badly lost there mass contact.
There is no need to expand the scrutiny of the two groups by re-analyzing or de-analyzing them. Let’s just add a new perspective.
In the last two years, the volume of attack against the CPI(M) and the government (which was also the CPI(M) only, as all partners simply washed their hands and distanced themselves from everything) was unprecedented. Every resistance must have a class character which can be properly dealt with a specific class outlook. This is the first time CPI(M) faced a resistance on its policy from such a mixed class of protesters which was complex to analyze and hard to promptly reciprocate. Possibly the party was unable to politically analyze and explain with clarity to its own members about the unique class character of the opposition. The leadership was ideologically clueless to defend the resistance and therefore made many mistakes on their way. It might be temporary but definitely a political defeat for them.
Sans CPI(M) leftists had always argued that their movement against land acquisition and industrialization of West Bengal was a movement to defend the interests of the peasants and workers. From the results of the Panchayat elections it is clear that Trinamul Congress has gained the maximum from the situation. So will the same leftists now brand Miss Mamata Banerjee’s party as a progressive political force? And if not, then there is actually nothing for them to celebrate about the events.
CPI(M) will definitely introspect. Introspection will be a must not only in the lower tier of the party, but in all levels including the highest. The point that government and party agenda should not get mixed up is raised by
two former activists of the CPI(M) in a honest analysis of the situation. This point seems to be a vital one to look at.
It will be a terrible mistake to say ‘nothing so serious’ now.