People drawn to the embrace and fold of the ruling party, have, thus, come to identify themselves with the dream that Mamata Banerjee has crafted for their socio- economic uplift. The TMC while extending political patronage to the’ new constituency’ of the party, has tried to secure its emotional involvement in the electoral mechanism so that it is properly geared to electoral requirements and ensure return of the party to power from the Panchayats to Parliament.
The carefully nurtured, nursed and cultivated political base was responsible for nonTMC parties drawing a blank in 2016, in the entire jurisdiction of metropolis of Kolkata with as many as 11 seats.
The electoral massacre has brought about a sharpening of the divide between the middle and upper middle class, popularly branded as bhadralok, and known for its animosity towards Mamata Banerjee in cities and semi urban areas, on the one hand, and the ' new constituency’ with loyalty and commitment to try and perpetuate the TMC rule, on the pattern of that of the Marxists, but with a difference, on the other.
In divergence with the new phenomenon, what has acted as a serious dampener to the growth of the CPI-M and other left political parties in the state and elsewhere, is the growing disenchantment of youth in general, with the left ideologies. Having been exposed to globalisation, market economy, 24x7 coverage by electronic media and democratisation of information technology, the youth do not get carried away any longer by the romanticism of socialism and communism with the same intensity as in the past. What concerns them more is the socio- economic and political model that equips them with education and skills for employment, security, stability and better quality of life, in general. In consequence, a severe drought stalks the political field with regard to the enrolment of youth into the CPM / Left political parties and their front organisations . This has set in motion a downward spiral in infusion of new blood, flow of funds, organisational growth and mobilization of the masses. The CPI-M central leadership which has been traditionally, dependent on the bounty of all types from states like West Bengal and Kerala in particular, is hard pressed.
On the political plane, the situation remains further compounded by the surge of the BJP and its elaborate plans for serious forays into the state of UP for a determined bid to capture power in 2017, and thereafter, in some other states where elections are slated for 2018, riding on the crest of its recent impressive electoral performance in Assam, as part of preparations to build a crescendo of support and tempo for the most crucial Lok Sabha elections in 2019. The impending political challenges make it incumbent on the Marxists to enlarge the platform of political alliance, galvanising with forces opposed to the BJP led NDA at the national level, and the TMC in West Bengal.
The electoral platform of the left alone is considered too frail and fragile to confront the BJP and the TMC at a time when both have become far stronger and more stable at the cost of the Congress and the CPM. It will be most imperative that the Marxists initiate massive efforts to restore the national political balance and bail the party out of its current decay and drift, on a war footing. The survival of Marxism will hinge on the revival of the CPM in West Bengal, the backbone of the organisation since its birth, by rallying left, democratic, secular and progressive elements, across the political spectrum. Without this, the simultaneous fight on the two battle fronts, will lack a sense of purpose.
The tasks are indeed formidable and stakes enormous for the central leadership of the CPI-M to commit another ‘historical blunder’ by conceding to the viewpoints of the likes of Sangwan. It is high time that the CPI-M, like China, responds to changes without being unduly conservative and dogmatic in its approach to party lines and principles. The party needs to be dynamic to changes, according to its political interests, conveniences, and imperatives of the time, place and situation. Prudence lies in the pursuit of a policy or party line that helps restore and revive the organisational strength, political relevance, clout and voice of the party, while inching towards the seat of power.
A failure to do so will only yield space to the BJP to try and emerge as a force to reckon with at the cost of the CPI-M, in the sensitive border state of West Bengal in 2021. The retention of power, if possible, by the BJP at the Centre in 2019, will impart a tremendous shot in the arm of the state leadership. For the moment, it is wake-up time for the Marxists to rise and confront the harsh reality and act resolutely.
The carefully nurtured, nursed and cultivated political base was responsible for nonTMC parties drawing a blank in 2016.