WB polls: Left Front fails to win back Muslim support

Subscribe to Oneindia News

Kolkata, May 15: The Left Front in West Bengal has evidently failed to win back confidence of Muslims since the 2008 civic and panchayat elections as they lost around 90 seats in the just concluded Assembly polls where the minority community has a strong presence.

Muslims have a good presence in nearly 125 seats across 10 border districts of which over 90 have been won by the Trinamool Congress-Congress combine.

In the June 2008 civic elections, the Trinamool Congress and Congress combine won eight civic bodies against the Left's five. While in the Lok Sabha polls next year, the Trinamool and the Congress, along with the SUCI bagged 26 of the state's 42 seats.

After the landslide win in 2006, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had embarked on aggressive industrialisation and urbanisation involving acquisition of farmland.

A large number of poor Muslims, who had gained from land reforms taken up by the Left Front when it came to power in 1977 were disillusioned and feared losing their land.

The Sachar Committee report shook their their faith in the CPI(M)-led Left Front as the report criticised West Bengal for having done little to uplift the Muslim community. A large section of Urdu-speaking Muslims were disillusioned by the Sachar Committee report.

When Mamata Banerjee took over the reins of agitations against land acquisition at Nandigram and Singur, the poor Muslims moved over to her camp. 

The Left Front government tried to reach out to them through inclusion of Muslims in the OBC category for job reservations, setting up of educational institutions and vocational training for students of the community. But it apparently did not cut much ice.

The chief minister had reportedly even inaugurated half-completed buildings of educational institutions for minorities before the elections were announced.

These last ditch efforts had very little effect and the Muslim voters remained with Trinamool Congress-Congress combine.

The resentment among Muslims was evident from the loss of Minister for Minorities Development and Welfare and Madrasah Education Abdus Sattar from Amdanga in North 24 Parganas district by 21,567 votes to Rafiqur Rahaman of Trinamool Congress.

During the 2008 Panchayat polls, the Trinamool Congress and the Congress got more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast.

PTI

Please Wait while comments are loading...