KOLKATA, 13th June: THE CPI(M) has decided to develop broader unity to resist violent attacks on people in West Bengal after the elections. The state committee meeting of the Party, on June 11-12 called upon the Party workers and people to stand in unison against murderous attacks. Party will also focus on issues of livelihood to build up class and mass movements.
Eight Left Front activists have been killed during and after the election process, two of them after the declaration of results. But the magnitude of the attack cannot be comprehended only through the number of the killed. 1,924 activists and supporters have been injured in the attack; many of them were admitted in hospitals. More than 9,200 persons have been rendered homeless, 2,876 houses were ransacked, destroyed or burnt. At least in 12 cases, cluster of houses in the villages were put to flames.
In a clear message that opposition parties will not be allowed to function in a normal manner, offices of Left parties and mass organisations were attacked, destroyed, ransacked, seized or burnt in large numbers. 575 offices of the CPI(M) or Left parties and 128 offices of mass organisations were attacked in these ways.
Another feature is the direct attack on livelihood. Hundreds of shops, mostly small, belonging to Left supporters were looted and ransacked. In villages, ‘suspected’ Left voters are being denied jobs including MNREGA. In industrial areas or in construction sites casual and contract workers are sacked. There is all-pervasive atmosphere of fear in government offices, municipalities and rural level administration.
CPI(M) has decided to launch movement to defend democratic, civil rights at four levels. Firstly, Party will build up movements with independent strength. There will be resistance keeping in mind the objective situation of the area, mobilising people. Secondly, the Left Front will initiate programmes, discussing the details in the Front. Thirdly, CPI(M) will strive for united action with Left parties outside the Left Front, on issues. The Party wants to build up broader Left unity. And, lastly, broader mobilisation will be done including the friendly parties of Left Front like RJD, JD(U), NCP and other secular parties. This may include Congress too in different localities. CPI(M) will try to build up broadest possible peoples unity in the process. It is urgently needed to develop broad platforms to resist fascistic onslaught on rights and livelihood of the people.
In the state committee meeting of the Party, primary review of the election results was conducted. After the meeting, state secretary Surjyakanta Misra briefed media on some of the aspects of this review. The entire election process was conducted in an atmosphere of terror. The reign of terror, prevailing in the state for last five years have impacted organisational strength of the Party too. In many areas, proper organisational activities could not be stepped up during elections because of this atmosphere. While it was true that voting was more peaceful than 2014 Lok Sabha elections, many distortions took place. In many constituencies, 20 to 60 booths witnessed rampant false voting, capturing, and ouster of opposition polling agents. Peoples’ verdict was not reflected properly in these areas, making an overall impact on the results. Election Commission has not been able to implement corrective measures in such cases. In fact, the EC has taken steps in five percent of allegations filed by Left parties.
Review also identified organisational weakness of the Party. In many areas, proper organisational work could not be conducted at booth level. Despite large gatherings in public meeting, door to door contact was weak. Alienation with people in different areas could not be overcome yet. But, it was clear that wherever organisational activities were regular and relations with people was maintained, the result was comparatively better. As Left, democratic, secular forces fought this election together, it is difficult to separate vote share among them. In 169 assembly constituencies, votes for these candidates have increased. Within assembly constituencies, aggregate vote and share of Left candidates have increased in large number of booths as well. Booth level detail review will be done to ascertain the reasons of increase or decline of votes.
Misra said the discussion in the state committee has shown that enthusiasm and spontaneous response among Left supporters grew during the election process. However, it could not be translated into increase of votes proportionately everywhere.
Misra has categorically asserted that Left Front will remain united and will continue to fight on peoples’ issues. There may be some difference in perceptions among the constituents, which has happened in the past too. But these differences will be resolved through discussion within the front.