Left struggles to get it right

Left struggles to get it right

 Left parties, which once had a reasonable presence in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, are now struggling to remain relevant in electoral politics in India’s biggest state.

 The CPI and the CPM, which had failed to open their account in the 2007 and 2012 Assembly polls, have fielded their candidates in about 100 Assembly seats in the state in alliance with four other smaller Left outfits.

The performance of the Left parties has witnessed a steady decline after 1969 when the CPI had alone emerged victorious in as many as 81 seats.

The eastern districts of Varanasi, Ghazipur and Azamgarh were considered to be Left bastions in the past.

The Left had won 18 and 10 seats in the Assembly polls in 1974 and 1977 and thereafter it could not manage to touch the two-digit figure in successive Assembly elections.

 Left leaders in the state feel that they have been a victim of caste and communal politics in the state.

“We had to suffer owing to the dominance of caste and communal politics in Uttar Pradesh,” said B L Bharti, a senior CPM leader in the state.

“The Ram Temple agitation and the emergence of the BSP sounded the death knell for Left politics in Uttar Pradesh,” remarked another Left leader.

Political analysts attribute the decline of the Left to the weakening of the trade union movement.

“Trade unions have ceased to be as powerful as they used to be once... the Left used to dominate the trade unions and through them it wielded considerable influence on the people, especially the labourers,” said J P Shukla, a political

Lack of powerful leaders also contributed to the decline of the Left in the state, Shukla said. Though the Left parties did take up issues concerning the public, especially crimes against women and exploitation of the labourers, they failed to catch the imagination of the people, an observer said.

Bharti, however, remains confident. “People have now understood that caste and communal politics cannot ensure development of the state... they need basic facilities like employment and education,” he said.

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