It has happened many times in the past and it seems destined to happen again – thanks to the silence of the left-liberal intelligentsia and the opportunism of the political class. Soon Nandigram may be forgotten by the political class and CPM will be ‘forgiven’ its misdemeanour – all for the sake of some supposedly ‘larger cause’.
After making some noises for public consumption, the Left Front partners have eventually decided, or so it seems, to make peace with the CPM. What else can they do if they have to remain in power? Remember the NDA allies – including the heroine of today, Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress, the TDP and others? Did they squeak, when Gujarat burned? AB Bardhan, the CPI General Secretary is of course, knows full well, which side his toast is buttered and is known to be inside his own party a CPM mole (he has been advocating the merger of the CPI into the CPM.) So we can let Bardhan be. But what are the other LF partners in West Bengal thinking? They can choose to sink with the CPM – as and when it happens (like the TMC and TDP sank with the NDA) or they can help the formation of an alternative platform with other smaller parties. The CPM, after all, was not always a big party. It became big in the process of presenting an alternative to decades of Congress rule.
Yes, no one can guarantee the smaller partners that they will or can be on the winning side – or become the winning side by becoming big. Indeed, if they continue to remain a pale shadow of the CPM, it is unlikely that they will ever be perceived as any kind of alternative. But they should know one thing: just as the NDA’s defeat in 2004 surprised everybody – from pollsters and psephologists to the contesting parties themselves – the future of Bengal too may not lie with the CPM. And yet, it will be truly tragic if, by default, the TMC were to win.
But equally eloquent is the silence of the bulk of the Left wing and liberal intelligentsia against this bizarre Narendra Modi-like turn of Left politics in the country. And this silence, we know, stems from the strange way in which the secular intelligentsia thinks of the CPM as some kind of a ‘bulwark’ against the fascist Right. The irony of the situation is that the state might soon go into the hands of its reliable ally – the TMC. Astute BJP politicians are already talking of reviving ties with the TMC. For intellectuals sharing common fronts and alliances with the CPM, this is the time for a serious rethink – if they can not bring about any pressure on it, then they would be participating in its cynical power game, all in the name of secularism.