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Poll results 'a huge emotional outburst' by Bengal

May 13, 2011 14:57 IST

The electoral debacle of the Left Front and the decisive win of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal is actually a "huge emotional outburst" by the people of Bengal, believes eminent journalist Swapan Dasgupta.

Dasgupta told rediff.com that the poll results were "an expression of the accumulated, pent-up fraustration of the people at the complete decline and stagnation of Bengal for the last three decades".

"In (Trinamool Congress chief) Mamata Banerjee, they have finally found a credible symbol to channel their discontent," he said.

Dasgupta pointed out that despite the Left Front's clean sweep in the 2006 assembly polls, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee could feel the simmering discontent among the people.

"He tried to build up hope about change and modernisation of the state. But these promises came to naught after the incidents in Singur and Nandigram," he said.

Dasgupta said that Bengal's voters were doubly disappointed and angry after their hopes for development were completely dashed.

But didn't Mamata Banerjee play a major part in forcing the Tata Group to withdraw its Nano factory from Singur?

"Mamata's success lies in the fact that she has successfully transferred the entire blame of the Singur incident on the ruling Left Front," observes Dasgupta, adding, "She made the government's failure to develop Singur the main issue."

The Trinamool chief also owes her success to many erstwhile supporters of the Left Front, who defected to her side after getting fed up of the Communist Party of India-Marxist's high-handedness.

"The coming together of these supporters and anti-Left Front voters worked for her," said Dasgupta.

He also pointed out that there had been a significant shift in the votes of the Muslim community -- traditionally supporters of the Left Front -- due to the crises in Singur and Nandigram.

Speaking on whether Banerjee will be able to usher in the much-hyped wind of change, Dasgupta opines, "She has the window of opportunity in the next one year to convey the impression that Bengal is indeed changing; real change will take years to show."

But questions have been raised about her performance as Union railway minister. How will she fare as the chief minister of Bengal?

Dasgupta is willing to give Banerjee the benefit of doubt; "She has redefined herself significantly in the last two years. Her tenure as railway minister may make us sceptical, but then politicians are capable of change, of reinventing themselves," he said.

Speaking on how the Left Front will deal with sitting in the Opposition bench for the first time in 34 years, Dasgupta hoped that it will not resort to "disruptive tactics" as that will lead to 'street brawl politics".

"The Left Front still has a large support base and it will be waiting for the next opportunity," he said.