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'Bengal has never had a viable opposition'

Last updated on: May 12, 2006 19:06 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox: correspondent Indrani Roy Mitra travelled extensively in West Bengal to cover the elections. She had an online chat with readers on May 11 as the West Bengal poll results were coming in. Following is the transcipt of the chat:


sarma : Why Left Front is winning in West Bengal without any major opposition for the last so many years?
Indrani Roy Mitra : The answer is hidden in your question itself. There is no opposition in Bengal. People can only vote for the Left Front.

Sandip Mook : Has Subhash chakroborty won in WB
Indrani Roy Mitra : Yes, Subhash Chakoborty won by 1,749 votes.

hoda : is this the win of people,this signifies what people want in WB,Now left should focus on development
Indrani Roy Mitra : Election was pretty fair and free in West Bengal, thanks to Election Commission measures. Yes, this election definitely is the win of the people. In an interview to, the Bengal chief minister spoke of undertaking major development projects post election. We have to wait and see.

bikram : what is mamata banerjee's reaction now?
Indrani Roy Mitra : According to agency reports, Trinamool Cong chief Mamata Banerjee was unmoved by the election results.

iquebal : The landslide victory in west bengal is due to the the very week oposition (Trinomul-> Flipflop attitude, Congress already accepted Left in WB), Do you agree?
Indrani Roy Mitra : You can't be more right. One of the primary reasons for a Left sweep in Bengal is the non-existence of a viable Opposition.

nita : Why Did Mamta Loose?
Indrani Roy Mitra : Mamata Banerjee lost primarily because her party never had a definite idealogy. People were confused by her party's flipflop attitude.

Hemant Rout : Should Buddhadev think that all the credits go to him for this absolute majority?
Indrani Roy Mitra : Credit for winning any election should always got to the party and not to any individual. That's what I feel.

DEB chatterjee : hi indrani can you pls tell me after this result what will so called opposition will cry that left has won due to rigging.
Indrani Roy Mitra : I know. For the first time, the Opposition won't be able to talk about rigging. They will dig out some excuse I guess.

Chetan : Indrani in West Bengal, Trinamool was an offshoot of the headquarters ignoring grassroot politicians. But I think CPIM is notdoing that mistake?
Indrani Roy Mitra : The point is: if Trinamool highlighted the grassroot issue in the beginning, it lost focus midway and thereafter, people had no choice but vote for CPI-M. Now that the Left have won, they should not neglect the grassroot politicians at all. They cannot afford to lose people's faith at this stage.

newperson : Left has been ruling WB for ages, but the progress of the state is not at all comparable to other states. Why do people still believe left can do wonders for them?
Indrani Roy Mitra : It's not that people of Bengal are head over heels in love with the Left Front. The state has never had a viable Opposition which is why people don't have any other party to vote for. As for development of the state, I do agree that a lot needs to be done.

bongjee : amazing how the opposition parties in bengal are hopelessly out of sync with realities!
Indrani Roy Mitra : I agree with you, completely.

Indrani Roy Mitra : Lack of a strong Opposition and nothing else.

ricky : What do the people of WB see as an achievement in LF govt?
Indrani Roy Mitra : Well, I think Left Front is winning in West Bengal all these years primarily because of a lack of a strong Opposition. As for its achievement, LF has a strong foothold in the villages, mainly because of land reforms.

Hemant Rout : What should be the election strategy for both the BJP and TMC for next
Indrani Roy Mitra : A mahajot or a grand alliance should be the only strategy I think.

vicci : I am sending this message from Germany. Dont you think that this result will put left front in power for another 30 years?
Indrani Roy Mitra : Hi vicci, 30 years is too optimistic. The Left will rule as long as there is no strong Opposition in Bengal.

antil : will mamta come to Delhi and try to join BJP BSP or some other P
Indrani Roy Mitra : Mamata Banerjee is yet to talk about her strategy. We have to wait till then. But I feel it is time she thought of a grand coalition. : Don't you think that left is winning in wb bcoz the just wanna stay in power and do nothin 4 the development of common men?
Indrani Roy Mitra : Left is winning in Bengal primarily because of lack of a strong opposition and also because of its organising skills.

Indrani Roy Mitra : I can't predict which combination will pose the right challenge for CPI-M. But it goes without saying that a coalition is absolutely necessary.

nalinabh : Indrani Why it is ´´Lack of opposition´´? Do not you think that left made many rights which turnd into lack of opposition????
Indrani Roy Mitra : Yes Left did do a lot of rights in WB, but even then I strongly feel that lack of a strong opposition has been the prime reason for its win.

roy : Indrani, I do not agree with U that WB is under developed than other state. It is a negative hype on Bengal. I am sure in Bengal politically literate people are mire than any other state. They know whom they are voting. It is not right that they are voting to LF bcuz there is no alternative.
Indrani Roy Mitra : You are right. The intellectuals do use their wisdom while voting. But even then most of the so-called elites that I interviewed before the results said they were left with little or no option.

antil : wat mamta will do now
Indrani Roy Mitra : Mamata Banerjee must work towards forming a coalition in the state. She has to try really hard towards building a strong opposition in the state.

pasta : Next time in west bengal therer will be 294 phases of election :D ..still left will win ...
Indrani Roy Mitra : I will answer you after next election then :))

venkata : there is lot of talk of no opposition in Bengal, if the people really wished for a change they could have come out and voted for independents or any other party. This would atleast give the Left to take note of reduced margin of victory, that the people r not with us and may have worked differently. Further the opposition may see an opportunity exsists for them atleast for next election. Is it not correct?
Indrani Roy Mitra : And let the state go from bad to worse? No, I don't think so. Besides, can you name any important Independent candidate who had a huge potential?

narayan : will it be an over confidence for L. F. which will ultimately spoil them
Indrani Roy Mitra : For any democracy, it is always healthy to have a political reshuffle. Unfortunately, it is not happening in Bengal. Who knows, it might lead to an over confident Left.

DCNayak : Do you think that this clear sweep by Left is an indication of developement & growth in the state ?
Indrani Roy Mitra : Partly yes.

prashant_surana : why othere parties cannot form there base in WB? or Left parties are so strong and having control on the system. (Law and order) also left allows many bangla people to take part in election.
Indrani Roy Mitra : Other parties in Bengal are not as well organised as the Left. They, like the Trinamool and the Congress, are not focused. Neither do they have clear ideologies. They tend to make the people of the state confused with their views. Hence...

kalyan : It is of whose win? State, Chief Ministar or the peoples of West Bengal What makes them win? Ideology or blank or No oppostition
Indrani Roy Mitra : There cannot be a single reason for a win in an election. If the Left in WB has won primarily because of a lack of strong Opposition, other reasons too have accounted for its victory. One of them is land reforms and another, I think is Buddhadev Bhattacharya's neo-Communism.

anirban : At least this time Mamata shouldn't complain 'bout the CPM's mass rigging ..I've heard that this time the poll was rather peacefull and fair..what do u say?
Indrani Roy Mitra : Yes of course. She cannot raise the issue of rigging as an excuse this time.

Kuntal : Indrani !!! R u a CPM supporter???
Indrani Roy Mitra : Why do you say that? Are you?

rsrirams : Partha it is a mechanized rigging. I am from TN and i visited the rural WB last week. The people there told me this. Its shocking. The Left has told them during campaigning that "If they dont vote this time, their name will be taken out of Voters List". Shame of democracy
Indrani Roy Mitra : I don't understand what you are saying. People in Bengal this time seemed happy with the election procedure. It is really unfortunate if what you are saying has actually happened.

dr_aftab : Dont you think Mamta is a great fighter for common man but cannot transform inshape of vote?
Indrani Roy Mitra : I agree with you completely. She has a huge following but she just cannot capitalise on it.

shcoloar : indrani, is it true that CPM leaders are more down to earth, less corrupt and more cohesive. Is this internal unity the biggest reason for their succes
Indrani Roy Mitra : I can't say if they are less corrupt but definitely they are more cohesive and perhaps more down-to-earth than their counterparts in the Opposition.

pasta : Indrani from your comments looks like the Left Front has to carry responsibility to build a great opposition party too !!!
Indrani Roy Mitra : No it is the Trinamool, Congress and BJP who should work towards a grand coalition.

bvsche : today bengal led by buddadeb , is no longer the earlier one , to check in visit rajahat pl. the victory by him , is clearly sign of Bengal people willingness to accept the change
Indrani Roy Mitra : I partly agree with you. Buddhadev's dynamism is somewhat responsible for the CPI-M win.

partha024 : Is this a justified result or a mechanised rigging?
Indrani Roy Mitra : Ask the Election Commission

Hemant Rout : Hi Indrani, this is Hemant from TOI, Orissa - Why couldn't Mamata do well this time? What will be her next strategy?
Indrani Roy Mitra : Mamata's Trinamool party failed to gain people's faith. The party policies often seemed diffused and out of focus.

gdas : No, EC is responsible for this big win of CMP. They stpped TC and Cong to rig the poll.
Indrani Roy Mitra : Only the EC can answer this one. Anyway, it was very nice chatting with you all. Now, George Iype will take over to talk on Kerala results. Thanks everybody.


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'Change of governance is right'
'Left will be very development friendly'
Complete Coverage

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