The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) met in New Delhi on May 16, 2001 to take stock of the situation after the results of the elections to the five state assemblies. It has issued the following statement:
The Polit Bureau hailed the historic victory of the Left Front in West Bengal for a record sixth time with a two-third majority. It congratulated the people of West Bengal who have determinedly voted the Left Front to office, rebuffing a concerted campaign of disinformation and violence mounted by the anti-Left forces. It warmly greeted the tens of thousands of CPI(M) cadres and Left Front activists who have worked untiringly to make this electoral struggle a success.
This victory, coming after 24 years of Left Front rule has attracted national and international attention. It is a confirmation of the relevance of Left politics in the country and a fiasco for the opportunist politics of anti-Marxist alliance indulged in by the Trinamul-Congress combine.
The Polit Bureau notes that in winning 199 seats, the Left Front has polled 49 per cent of the vote, which hardly shows any erosion from the percentage of votes polled in the 1996 assembly elections. The CPI(M) on its own has increased its vote share slightly from 36.4% to 36.5%.
The Polit Bureau heard the proposal of the CPI(M) State Secretariat for the formation of the state government and broadly endorsed it.
The Polit Bureau expressed its deep concern at the defeat suffered by the Left Democratic Front in Kerala. The UDF has been able to win the elections and secure a two-third majority in the assembly. The Polit Bureau held a preliminary discussion on the causes for this defeat.
There was a veritable gang up of all caste and communal forces against the LDF. The Congress-led UDF had no hesitation in openly soliciting the support of the BJP and entering into an understanding with the BJP-RSS combine to transfer its votes to the UDF. The BJP vote share fell by 3 per cent this time as compared to the 1999 Lok Sabha elections. These votes went to the UDF in selected constituencies all over the state. On the other side, the UDF's alliance with the Muslim fundamentalist PDP and the rallying of all caste and sectarian organisations, enabled it to substantially increase its vote share.
The Polit Bureau noted that there has been a slight decrease in the percentage of vote of the LDF compared to the 1996 assembly elections. The crash in the prices of all agricultural commodities after the liberalisation of imports by the central government hit Kerala badly. The distress caused by the import policy was not the LDF government's responsibility but it had adverse consequences for the LDF. The PB underlined the necessity for a self-critical examination of our performance and the shortcomings in the work of the LDF government.
The Polit Bureau decided that a detailed election review will be undertaken at the next meeting of the Central Committee to be held in the end of the month, where a proper assessment would be made, taking into account all political and organisational aspects.
Overall Impact of Polls
The results of the five assembly elections including those of Tamilnadu, Pondicherry, and Assam has struck a significant blow at the BJP and the NDA. In all the five states, the BJP and its alliance have either been routed or have been nowhere in the picture. In West Bengal and Kerala, the BJP has failed to secure even a single seat in the assembly. In Tamilnadu, the rout of the DMK-BJP alliance will have its direct impact on the ruling coalition at the Centre. The NDA alliance, which had the maximum number of partners from Tamilnadu, is now in tatters in the state. The depth of the discontent against the DMK-BJP alliance can be gauged from the sweeping victory of the combination led by the AIADMK.
In Assam, the opportunist last minute alliance forged by the AGP and the BJP has been decisively rejected by the people. The disreputable record of the AGP government and the quarrels between the two partners has paved the way for the victory of the Congress.
The BJP's electoral performance shows that the economic policies of the Vajpayee government with its naked appeasement of big business and MNCs and the series of corruption scandals, in particular, the tehelka exposures, have incurred strong popular disapproval. It is for the allies of the BJP to realise that associating with such a party is affecting their own mass base and harming their prospects.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) reiterated its commitment to continue to fight against the pernicious policies of the Central government including its latest surrender to the USA on the missile defence plan. The necessity for strengthening the third alternative has been underlined in the situation obtaining after the elections in these five states. All efforts should be made for strengthening the united struggles and movements against the Vajpayee government's policies and for developing and strengthening the People's Front as a national alternative.