Having lost its once impregnable fortress Bengal to Mamata Banerjee, the Left had to do something radical to come back to power at Writers’ Building.
The idea that was promised was indeed radical – ally with the Congress.
The Congress-Left alliance did make sense as their combined vote share – based on last election figures – was more than that of TMC. So, logically, if they fought as a block, the TMC wouldn’t stand a chance.
For years, it had been a comfortable arrangement in the context of 'Delhi politics' – work in tandem to target the BJP but fight against each other at the state level.
But then new leadership and new thought emerged in the CPM after Sitaram Yechury took charge as general secretary.
And the panacea that was proposed to cure the party of its woes in Bengal was the tie-up with the Congress.
The two parties that have consistently been at different poles of the political spectrum and who had joined hands at the national level under the guise of keeping “communal forces” at bay, now came together to assail Mamata.
The decision did not go down well with a sizeable chunk of committed followers of the Left ideology. And, as is clear now, the attempt to push the idea down the throats of ground-level workers in Bengal has backfired like no one in AKG Bhavan would have ever imagined.
The Left has been decimated with it being projected to win just 29 seats – its worst performance ever. And rubbing salt to the injury is the fact that Congress is on course to win over 40 seats.
The Left-Congress alliance was opportunistic to the core and as it happens in electoral politics, the numbers may match on paper but whether it will deliver on the ground is an entirely different ball game altogether.
The people of Bengal have sent out a clear message to the dadas - drawing board politics doesn't help when it's done at the cost of ideology.