Text of statement by Jairus Banaji, Sukumar Muralidharan, Dilip Simeon, Satya Sivaraman and Rohini Hensman endorsed by 224 others.
In a minor replay of 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Indian media have been gloating at the defeat of the Left Front in West Bengal especially and have repeatedly suggested that this signals the ‘end of the Left in India’. Even at the best of times our news channels tend to avoid serious analyses of the underlying trends within the country, since they have transformed the news itself into a form of entertainment on models surpassed only by the U.S. news networks.
For its part the CPI(M) leadership has been at pains to minimise the significance of the defeat (in Bengal especially) and said that it would be wrong to write off the Left. For them ‘the Left’ means the Left Fronts in Bengal and Kerala and of course chiefly the CPI(M) itself. They stress the fact that they still retain a considerable vote share, just over 40% in West Bengal for example, and there is indeed some truth in this claim.