CPI(M) Sees Hope in Ballygunge Bypoll Results, Asserts Itself as Alternative to TMC in Bengal

Perked up by the results of the bypoll to the Ballygunge assembly seat in which the party came second, the CPI(M) is asserting that it is the only alternative to the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said that an idea doing the rounds that the Left Front has become irrelevant in West Bengal is fading fast.

The CPI(M)-led Left Front, which could not win a single seat in the 2021 assembly elections in the state, sees a glimmer of hope in the results of the recent elections in the state, be it for municipalities or assembly bypolls, wherein many places it came second, leaving the BJP behind. ”An idea that the Left has become irrelevant in West Bengal politics was doing the rounds. People are slowly realising that functionally Left is the only alternative to the present regime in West Bengal,” Chakraborty told PTI.

BJP, which had won 77 seats in the assembly elections, is the only opposition party having representation in the House. ”People are realising that in real sense what is meant by opposition on issues of employment, law and order, etc is shown by the Left,” he said, adding that this was, however, not being reflected in the electoral process.

Chakraborty said that the recent elections, including the municipal polls in the state and the assembly by-elections, were testimony to the Left Front regaining its relevance in West Bengal politics. The Left Front was runner-up to the TMC in 65 wards in the 144-ward Kolkata Municipal Corporation election held in December last year in which the TMC recorded a landslide victory.

However, when it was pointed out to him that the CPI(M) candidate came third in the Asansol Lok Sabha seat by-election which was held on the same day as the Ballygunge assembly segment bypoll on April 12, Chakraborty claimed that the polls there was a farce. ”Additionally, binaries were created over religion and regionalism in the Asansol election with the narrative that TMC and the BJP are the only opponents of each other,” he said.

”On day to day issues related to people’s struggle, the Left is moving as the real opposition,” he said, adding that in the recent elections in the state, ”electoral significance” of the Left is being felt.From just 5.61 per cent of the vote share in Ballygunge in 2021 assembly elections, the CPIM) candidate notched up over 30 per cent of the votes polled in the by-election, leaving behind the BJP, to come up to the second position.

The CPI(M) last won from the Ballygunge seat in south Kolkata in 2001 and secured the third position behind TMC and BJP in the 2021 elections.

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