Why Left Front failed to open their account in West Bengal?

The election results have opened the doors for plenty of analysis and research about the emerging political landscape of India.
Why Left Front failed to open their account in West Bengal?
Jaano Junction

The outcome of the Lok Sabha election of 2024 which was declared on 4th June revealed plenty of interesting facts and figures as to what went right and wrong for both the NDA as well as INDIA. Whether it is the Congress party improving their tally of seat share and vote share nationally or the BJP failing to secure an absolute majority in the house for the first time since 2014, the election results have opened the doors for plenty of analysis and research about the emerging political landscape of India.

While the parties of the INDIA bloc inflicted serious damage to the BJP led NDA by demolishing their target of "iss baar 400 par," the performance of Left Front in the state of West Bengal remained unexpectedly abysmal in spite of campaigning heavily and raising issues of public interest.

With Left's arch rivals being TMC and BJP in West Bengal, the question that comes to our mind is if Left can join hands with TMC at the national level, then why are they fighting against each other in the state? The answer is because the political functioning of both TMC and CPM at the state level is in sharp contrast with each other, where the latter has been fighting against corruption cases of the former and various other issues that separate both of them.

Ever since the CPM failed to send any representatives from Bengal to the Parliament from the 2019 election onwards, the party has carried out plenty of reforms to revive the legacy among the voters by bringing in young faces within the party along with taking part in various welfare related activities to satisfy the basic needs of the society during Covid-19, Cyclones, lockdown etc so that they can send a decisive message to the society that they are a party to reckon with regardless of the results. But during elections, what makes people not to vote for left?

The rapid growth of BJP as an alternative force against TMC is one of the primary reasons behind the declining vote share of Left Front, as a major chunk of left votes from the traditional supporters of the left have moved towards BJP over the last 5 years. Voters have developed a perception that voting for Left Front would mean wasting their precious vote, as they are aware of the fact that they are not going to win, for which the beneficiary is either BJP or TMC. Secondly, the leadership crisis within the party has dented their image as a credible force, because of which voters are confused as to who will be the leader to raise their voice in the Parliament.

Thirdly, joining hands with the Congress proved to be futile exercise for the Left Front in the state as voters were not happy with the alliance since they wanted the party to fight on its own without seeking help from Congress with whom they used to fight elections by taking on Congress as an arch rival during late 20th Century when Left Front was in power. Other than that, defections played a decisive role in weakening the prospect of left as grassroots party workers were feeling unsatisfied with the way the party functioned, and in search of opportunities, they joined hands with BJP for a bigger cause, i.e to compete with TMC.

While the leaders of Left Front were very vigorous with their campaigning process, they should have stayed on the ground even before the schedule for the election was announced. The narrative regarding an alternate force against TMC-BJP failed to convert into votes since their presence were only confined within the boundaries of social media and TV studios because of which their priorities were forgotten by the people very easily. Had the party taken remedial steps by challenging the myth that the party is run by aged leaders after their disastrous performance in the 2021 assembly elections, then the prospects could have been much better for Left. The young faces who were inducted need to balance their act in a manner that not only justifies their political understanding, but also the core agenda that they want to highlight to stimulate change in the minds of the voters.

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