Kolkata, March 26 (AN): With elections to be hedl next month, the Left Front faces a stern litmus test.
Among the questions that the Left would have to deal with are whether it continues to pitch against the age-old bogey of imperialism.
While the opposition Congress-Trinamool in West Bengal seems more attuned to the times, talking of progress, employment opportunities, India's position in the global economic scenario and combating terrorism, the Left refuses to give up on its two core issues of rural development and protection and development of public sector undertakings, besides keeping the common man's interest in mind.
The Trinamool-Congress combine appears to have hijacked the Left's core issues.
At a time when all parties admit that these elections are aimed towards redefining national politics, the Left is hanging on to an objective of being the undefined secular alternative to the Congress and the BJP.
Partha Chatterjee, Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal State Assembly and a key leader of the Trinamool Congress, believes that the people will repose their trustand faith in Mamata Banerjee and her move to have an alliance with the Congress.
West Bengal Pradesh Congress Vice-President Manash Bhuniya believes that the UPA government under the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has promoted national prestige in the last five years.
The fact that there have been no communal riots and improved domestic and industrial growth is a credit to the UPA in these times of recession, he added.
Bhuniya also said that with implementation of the Sachar Committee report the rights of the minorities in India have also been given a boost.
CPI (M)'s sitting MP, Sujan Chakravorty, who is defending his seat from the Jadavpur Assembly Constituency, however, seemed more concerned about imperialist forces waiting to greedily embrace India.
He touched upon secularism and PSUs as core issues, but the main theme remained the step-motherly treatment meted out to West Bengal by the Centre and the need to find a alternative which will support Left views at the Centre and help West Bengal.
Though the West Bengal Government's industrialisation policy is a core political issue in the state and the industry versus agriculture debate had brought Mamata Banerjee to prominence once again, neither of the main parties appears willing to talk about retaining farm land only for agriculture at this stage of the electoral process.
Interestingly, the Left is not speaking much about the nuclear issue over which it withdrew support from the UPA at the Centre.
Considering the changing contours of electoral politics, it's not surprising that the political manifestos of each party is being interpreted differently in different places.
The political race in Bengal is being run with two clear contenders after a long time - the Left on the one hand and the Congress-Trinamool alliance on the other. The TINA factor for once is redundant here. By Ajitha Menon (ANI)