By A Correspondent
A long way to go to deliver “power to the people”. Keeping this in view the first Left Front government, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), assumed office in West Bengal in 1977. After taking charge of the first Front government as Chief Minister Jyoti Basu reminded all the Left parties in the coalition government of their task with a resolve of providing immediate relief to the people who, according to him, “is the last word”. At the time of taking office Jyoti Basu said that the Left Front was fully conscious of the duties and responsibilities that had been entrusted to it by the people through a historical electoral verdict .He declared “ our government would not be run from the Writers’ Buildings alone ; it would maintain close touch with the representative organizations of the people in order to serve them effectively.”
Since 1977 the Left Front has received overwhelming majority in all the seven successive Assembly elections setting a political record of steering the administration of a State for such a long, uninterrupted period.
What is the incredible strength behind this CPI(M)-led Left Front with which it is going to face another Assembly polls soon ? To get an answer one has to go through the pages of the latest publication of the Ganashakti entitled – Left Front Government : Keyword is People. The 736-page book traces long history of how left parties under the leadership of the CPI(M) have been brought under one umbrella through a series of mass movements in West Bengal and how the unity among them has been kept intact in running a government on the basis of a common economic programme. Historical documents along with valuable articles of Marxist leaders and theoreticians have enriched the volume which is sure to act as a pathfinder to young party workers.
From the beginning the Left Front government has been carrying out its programme of work with a resolve to provide immediate relief to the people, take the State forward on the path of development, decentralize the power structure, and thus involve people in the day-to-day work of the government. Of the 34 years it has in power, the Left Front government was led by Jyoti Basu for over 23 years until he stepped down in favour of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in October 2000. That it has kept the promises and gained the people’s trust is evident from the fact that the Front has been voted to power seven successive times with massive mandates. This is a world record for an elected Left government. Effective and purposive governance, successful conduct of coalition politics, political stability that was achieved and firm adherence to secularism are widely seen as the reasons for its success.
Tracing historical background of the formation of the Left Front, one gets an idea of how the CPI(M), experienced with the United Front governments of 1967 and 1969 stood the party in good stead. This period was followed by a dark phase when the Left parties had to function in an atmosphere devoid of democratic rights , under the Congress government. It was during this long period of struggle for democratic rights, civil liberty, social justice, agrarian reform and industrial resurgence that the Left Front took shape.