No news is good news for the Left these days. After a string of losses in panchayat elections in West Bengal in May this year, it received a drubbing in the recently held municipal elections.
Apologists may say that losses for the Left in towns and cities are along expected lines: It never had a big base in urban areas. The opposition parties, Trinamool Congress and the Congress, made smart gains. Further, the cumulative effect of defeats across rural and urban areas in the state points to a different phenomenon at work.
The Left is losing in places that have been for long its strongholds. For example, it lost the Guskara municipality in Burdwan district to its rival Trinamool Congress. It could ascribe its losses in places such as East Midnapore (the district where Nandigram is located) to disturbed conditions. It can’t give this reason everywhere.
Three decades is a long time to be in power in a democracy. Parties get tired, ideas get jaded and people desire a change. Perhaps that’s what is happening in West Bengal.