The CPI(M) headquarters at Alimuddin Street wore a deserted look on Thursday afternoon after the party suffered its worst defeat in past 40 years.
The CPI(M) headquarters at Alimuddin Street wore a deserted look on Thursday afternoon after the party suffered its worst defeat in past 40 years. The party which ruled Bengal for 34 years was in disarray after it was decimated by the ruling Trinamul Congress and was pushed to the third position in terms of seats won by political parties. The CPI(M) managed to win only 26 of 294 seats in the West Bengal Assembly election, putting a question mark on whether the party would remain relevant in Bengal politics.
Adding insult to the injury, its vote percentage plummeted to 19.7 per cent from 23 per cent in 2014 Lok Sabha election and 30.08 per cent in 2011 Assembly election. In 2011, the party had won 40 seats and later added 2 more by winning Assembly bypolls.
In 2016, it became the only major political party in Bengal to have lost both its seats and vote share.
With Congress winning 44 seats despite registering 12.3 per cent vote share, the CPI(M) would not be able to get the leader of Opposition’s post in West Bengal Legislative Assembly. According to some party leaders, CPI(M) helped revive the Congress by forging an electoral alliance with them and lost the second position to them after the experiment backfired.
The rejection from the people clearly reflected on the body language of its leaders as soon as the election results were declared.
“We have to accept the people’s verdict. Defeat is a defeat but it must not be treated as retreat,” CPI(M) state secretary who lost the election to TMC’s Prodyut Kumar Ghosh by 13,589 votes in West Midnapore district’s Narayangarh Assembly constituency.
“We have to introspect what went wrong for us in the election. After receiving preliminary reports it seems that those who were inactive in the party voted for TMC,” said Mr Mishra. He claimed that the party did well in the Assembly election compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha election. However, he could not come out with statistics to justify his claims.
The Left Front had won 62 seats in 2011 Assembly election with 40 per cent vote share. This time, the Left Front won only 32 seats with only 26 per cent vote share. CPI(M) contested in 147 out of 294 seats and won only 26. Left Front partners CPI(M) won 1 after contesting in 11 seats. Forward Bloc won 2 after contesting in 25 seats and RSP won 3 after contesting in 19 seats. Compared to 2011 Assembly polls, all CPI(M) allies lost their seats and vote share.
Some party leaders said, the CPI(M) dug its own grave by going with the Congress which tremendously benefitted from the electoral understanding. “We were sure till yesterday that the alliance would give the ruling party a run for their money. But the tactics flopped. With this result, it is hard to revive the party from this stage,” a senior Party leader said.
BOX ITEM (seats won by CPI(M) since 1977)
1977- 178 seats 1982- 174 seats 1987- 187 seats 1991- 189 seats 1996- 157 seats 2001- 143 seats 2006- 176 seats 2011- 40 seats 2016- 26 seats