Monday, November 29, 1999

Bengal CPM ready to sit in Opposition

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Kolkata, June 15 -- The CPI-M in West Bengal has admitted there is a strong anti-incumbency wave against the Left Front in the state and is prepared to sit in the Opposition benches after the assembly elections due next year. Party politburo member and state Commerce and Industry Minister Nirupam Sen said as much here on Tuesday, adding that other factors working against the CPI-M-led government include farmers' apprehensions about the state's policies, disillusionment among the minorities and a perception of the middle-class intelligentsia that the communist party is failing to deliver. "We have worked for the people and we have also made mistakes. Our mistakes have gone to the advantage of the Opposition," Sen said. "Now, if the people want us out in the 2011 assembly polls, we will sit outside." Sen's remarks come barely two weeks after the CPI-M was swept out of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC). The Trinamool Congress, fighting alone, wrested 95 of the KMC's 141-seats. "We have been around for so long. A section of people might think of change," he admitted. "This has, to an extent, affected our vote-bank." Mentioning the Nandigram and Singur episodes, the CPI-M leader claimed a major misinformation campaign - that the government was about to grab farmers' land for setting up industries - had been carried out against the Left Front. The Left Front had won a resounding victory in the 2006 assembly elections - its seventh consecutive win since 1977 - getting 235 of the 294 seats.

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