The attempted resurgence of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in course of a week – first at Presidency University and then in the city on Thursday – has backfired. The party would appear to have woken up after more than four years of slumber, even a measure of disinterest in contesting elections. Alas, the exercise to make its presence felt has backfired because of its anxiety to go on overdrive, if the extensive mayhem that marked the Left abhiyan to Nabanna is any indication. It might be tempting to aver that the peasants’ march was thwarted by the police; visually perhaps it was. On closer reflection, however, the law-enforcement authorities could not be expected to be mute witness to the removal of barricades across the city and its environs in Howrah. Clearly, the footsoldiers of the Left, if backed by hundreds of thousands of peasants, were direly provocative to regain the political space. In a sense, therefore, an astute party and its partners simply played into the hands of the police. Theoretically, the Left was on a firm wicket, having organised a peasants’ march close to a decade after the Trinamul&’s spirited movement in support of the farmer in Singur and Nandigram. Maybe it was trying to effect what it calls a “course correction”. It now needs to reflect on the praxis that went haywire. In the net, the very objective of the abhiyan was defeated. The party&’s provocation alone explains why the peasants’ demand for relief and rehabilitation was greeted by the police with lathicharge, teargas, water cannon, and the hurling of bricks (by both sides) – the last seemingly the latest in the armoury that was put to use during the gender-conflict over the Matribhumi Local.

The real issue is that after four years of playing from the sidelines, the CPI-M is now ready to dirty its hands. This is ominous for the next 10 months, when battle will be joined. After wilting in the wilderness for as long as it has, the party has come through as an entity of agent provocateurs. And by provoking the police to act in the manner they did – from Dufferin crossing in downtown Kolkata to Satragachi in Howrah – the party has hardly helped the cause of the dispossessed peasantry. In the twilight phase of its rule, a Panglossian agenda on industrialisation had shortchanged the peasant (2006-08) ; sad to reflect, he has been let down again by the recklessness and defiance of the CPI-M – verily a double whammy for the cultivator, if ever there was one. As they nurse their injuries, Biman Bose and Suryakanta Mishra must reflect. The party&’s high-voltage industrialisation had come a cropper; last Thursday it failed the peasantry. More&’s the pity.