If the figures of Greek poetics could be applied to India’s state politics, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee might qualify as the tragic hero. The poet-chief minister of West Bengal has of late mourned the party’s hassles in Singur and Nandigram, almost as if these were tragic errors that will bring down the appropriately classical edifice of the Left in Bengal. He went further on Monday, blaming Ratan Tata for the rise of Mamata Banerjee in the state.
To be sure, the conflicts in Singur and Nandigram did turn the electoral tide against the Left, and Banerjee’s populist activism was quick to fill the gap. Yet, blaming a rational business decision for a political fallout is immature.
In its long rule in Bengal, the Left has been guilty of another tragic flaw— hubris. Irrespective of the outcome of the assembly elections that started on Monday, it should learn a lesson. Bhattacharjee’s pathos can massage the party’s conscience, but it will only be a disservice.