Debabrata Biswas, General Secretary, AIFB
The Tripura election results have struck a body blow to the country’s Left Front as a whole. The Left had ruled Tripura for the past 25 years. Manik Sarkar held the reins of the state for more than two decades.
With this, the number of states being ruled by the Left in India has come down to one, with Kerala as its last bastion. Bengal was lost a few years ago, and now the Tripura verdict has questioned the methodology adopted by Left Front Leaders.
We saw the defeat of a popular, “people’s CM”. Manik Sarkar has long been an example of the ethical and “clean” politics. Politicians like him are rare in today’s age.
But Sarkar was fighting a grossly unequal fight. On one side was the CM standing alone, and on the other was the highly capitalist, corporate and imperialist oriented party, the BJP, which is ruling the Centre, has a Jumlebaaz (making lofty promises) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a crusader of non BJP-Sangh ideology Amit Shah.
After resuming power at the centre, the BJP had achieved more success and less defeats and every time following unethical, non-democratic and deep polarisation based detrimental political style to crush the democratic system of that region. Before Tripura Election, this BJP is controlling nineteen states and this prominent state Tripura being left ruled state is top on agenda. In this battle there was no match. The BJP used its’ top leaders, cabinet ministers, RSS workers with huge flow of money & muscle power with misuse of bureaucracy. They also handle electronic and print media to blow wind in their favour. While on the other hand the Manik Sarkar kept up the fight, banking on his record as CM and his administration. At the end, however, the unmatched match was over in favour of the opportunistic power hungry BJP.
The plain truth is that this BJP under the leadership of Modi – Shah Duo control a war – chest overflowing money and muscle where the left certainly unable to match in this regards. Left also mismatch in opportunistic electoral alliances.
The intolerant BJP is carrying on its mission to uproot and dislodge other ideologies. Such fascist attitude was not seen before. Now India’s democratic system has lost genuinely its capacity to bloom a hundred flowers of different colours and fragrance.
After the defeat of left in Tripura the result reflects many messages. One thing that emerges indisputably in the Tripura election results is that these needs and aspirations more or less narrow down to one little word-jobs. The Communist rule in Tripura was exceptional while it lasted for 25 years in giving good governance. Manik Sarkar was an example of virtues in his dedication in public life, his austere life-style, and his transparency.
After several winning strategy this BJP is waiting to swallow Tripura and put this battle as prestige issue to uproot the most important left ruled state after the Wes Bengal. They came in usual style as dream merchants. They came up with their famous ‘development agenda. The sad reality is that Tripura is at the top of the table as a State with an acute unemployment situation.
To retain power or win electoral battles it is important to understand the aspirations, needs and infrastructure on ground level. More or less after ruling three and half decade long rule in West Bengal, left leaders unable to cope up with stark reality and the youths of the state. The same situation prevails in Tripura concerning the youth’s aspirations. The left front government failed to generate employment to youths. The unemployment is the most highlighted issue in this election.
This era is an internet era or IT booming era. Apart from any industrial or infrastructural growth this state lacks also in IT sector. In Tripura the share of youth’s votes is nearly 30% of the total votes. Without any concrete plan to provide opportunity of better life how can one imagine to gain their support? The cancellation of 10,323 teachers from their job by the Supreme Court, Left Front Government failure to resolve the issue, made the people of the state think to choosing the BJP as the alternative. Smooth running in the administration all along state, mainly in the panchayat levels and the block levels was needed but the government failed.
It is the matter of deep concern for India’s politics that the deciding factors are working either for the BJP or the Congress. BJP comes and Congress out and its vice-versa. In Tripura we can see the change or transfer of votes from the Congress party to Trinamool and this as a whole to BJP. This transfer of votes ultimately to another bourgeois party with divisive force IPFT changed the whole picture. Why Congress failed to keep its masses intact? What is the role of the Left in this dramatic situation? This is a big question mark on India’s Left, democratic and socialist leaders and they have to answer it.
Left front government failed to tackle (Administratively and politically) the rise of I.P.F.T. Tribal party. This Tribal party succeed in holding eleven day long block for the demand of Tipraland, which stalled the state economy.
The Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) is a tribal-based party in Tripura and is a member of the North-East Regional Political Front, a group of political parties of the northeast that supports the National Democratic Alliance (India). The party existed from 1997 to 2001 until it was merged into the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT), and reformed in 2009.The party allied with BJP in the Tripura Legislative Assembly election, 2018 and won 8 seats out of 9.The BJP got 35 seats and a total of 43.His party got 7.5% of the total votes polled.
In past it is interesting to note the rise of IPFT. While, it also failed to gain a majority in the 2013 Tripura assembly elections, receiving 11,234 votes in 17 contested seats. Following these elections, IPFT leader Patal Kanya Jamatia left and joined the INPT, ultimately leaving again to form the Tripura Peoples Front (TPF).
In the 2015 ADC elections, the IPFT contested 27 of the 28 seats. Despite securing the second-highest number of votes at 115,252, the IPFT was unable to gain a single seat. The IPFT split again following these elections, with some members like Retd. TCS officer C.R Debbarma & Rangchak Kwthang left to form the Tipraland State Party (TSP). The party was further weakened after some prominent IPFT youth leaders, including David Murasing and Pabitra Jamatia, left the party to join the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party in power nationally in India, in 11 December 2016, but David Murasing ultimately leaving again BJP in 16th August 2017 to form Twipra Dophani Sikla Srwngnai Motha (TDSSM).
Since the partition of India the state Tripura received heavy flow of people from the East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh) and this inflow of people across the North-East still continued and making the indigenous population in minority. Their alienation with main stream politics is the bitter truth that is not studied by Left leaders. In this election BJP got 43.0%, CPM got 42.7%, and IPFT got 7.5%.
How to seek truth and right way in politics? Practice is the criterion of truth. Tripura has forcefully underlined the need for a drastic reorientation of the tactics or strategy of the Left. Tripura has again emphasised what was already clear. It has proved that the democratic forces must reject a narrow-minded and sectarian approach, reorient and adopt a broad attitude.
The time has come to act and not to discuss only indoor rooms. The precise time has come. The Left should take up the initiative and mobilise vast sections of the progressive and democratic forces and such organisations/mass fronts all over the country to generate a bright hope for the strong battle to come. But it is this role which the Left is refusing to play, particularly some sections of it which is detrimental of the democratic, secular left politics.
All India Forward Bloc is a revolutionary party, founded by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, whose socialism is based on India’s condition and needs he practiced the politics of inclusion and not of exclusion. He had deep regard in every section of society as well as indigenous and tribal people but the need is to come forward and propagate his ideology to reconstruct India. And for this the broader all-India level, unity or cooperation of the Left, democratic and secular progressive forces are urgently called for.