Friday, May 12, 2006

Poll Results in West Bengal

I saw a lot of messages on other message boards yesterday on why LF won this 7th term. The reasoning is widely varied - ranging from rigging [somewhat mute this time] to indoctrination of people of West Bengal.

I do think these armchair experts are in denial, they can not quite figure out why the LF can not be dislodged in WB. I never voted my local LF candidate, but was always of the opinion that rigging alone can not produce such a consistent majority over such a long period of time. As far as the 'indoctrination' theory is concerned, I take offence as this undermines the intelligence of the electorate, and has an 'anti-democratic' slant at the very least.

I would believe that the LF keeps winning because they are the best available alternative. They have delivered a consistent and stable administration, and have contributed in making lives better for a lot of people. They have also won two big strategic wars - first, when they were losing way in the midst of various corruption scandals, by installing an untainted CM and giving a make-over to the whole administration, and second time by staying low key and effectively allowing the opposition to dis-unite under personality battles.

This said, I do not think that such an unchallenged stint is good for people of WB. While the CM is doing a great job, his whole administration is not as effective, and hence it needs the checks and balances, at least a more effective opposition in time for the next election.

And, how? I guess the big problem is the current opposition - this whole personality cult around Mamta Banerjee. I am just hoping that this election will serve as a reminder that Mamta Banerjee is probably the best thing to happen to CPM in many years. Till such time the opposition keeps pitting this fire-breathing self-obsessed past-sell-by-date opportunist against a 'seen as efficient' administration and a transparent, focused CM - it is only going to get better for LF.

In summary, I do think people in WB are pragmatic and they have chosen the LF for practical reasons, and not ideology. It is time we confront the reality. It is also absolutely necessary that we have an effective, policy-oriented opposition, which has its own vision for WB and own ways of doing things. So, time for everyone to think - and time for the opposition to take a strategic make-over.

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