Sunday, May 15, 2011

The End of a Dark Era

As expected, the 2011 West Bengal Assembly Elections proved to be a turning point in the history of post-Independence Indian politics. After 34 years of creating and nurturing a political machine that could bring an entire state to its knees and reverberate all the way to New Delhi, the Left bastion in West Bengal finally came crashing down.

The signs were clear for years, the biggest of them being the massive fall during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. But it was the loss of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation that reflected that even the stiff-upper-lipped intellectuals of Kolkata, who normally swear by Marxism, had ditched the Left. Now, it was but a matter of time.

Throughout the campaign trail, the massive support for the Trinamool was apparent. Being the sophisticated political stalwart that she is, Sonia Gandhi has read the writing on the wall long back and knew that there was nothing for her party to do but join the Trinamool wave. The party's 30-odd MLAs are a result of that realization.

Even in the Chief Minister's own constituency, despite a huge turn out for his rallies, the poll mandate was clear: the Chief Minister has been vanquished in his own home. This was perhaps the greatest insult to injury of all.

Now, Mamata didi will have to think about the future. Her victorious wave will be short-lived if she cannot bring some real change to West Bengal. As for the Left, it now has just one State Government left (in Tripura) and even that could be lost soon. Either it shapes up to the needs of the new generation or it will die out.

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