The Left’s fork
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Hubris causes the fatal error of judgment that leads to the fall. When the Left Front won 60 seats in 2004, did anybody tell its leaders that that fall begins at the zenith, from the very moment of over-reach? The Left's best-ever performance is followed now by its worst-ever since 1977. While party strengths in Kerala routinely oscillate, Bengal has been the Left's impregnable fortress since then. On Fort Bengal now flies the Trinamool's flag. In Kerala, its victory in 2004 has been almost reversed now.
As the Left introspects, as Messrs Bardhan, Karat and Raja indicated it would, how should it apportion blame? By now, its central leadership doesn't need to be reminded there was always a price to pay for decisions made in the air-conditioned ivory tower, disregarding opinions of state units. True, troubles in the states must be factored into the Left's spectacular collapse — the CPM was mortally wounded by Nandigram and Singur, the Kerala state government has been a darkly comic boxing match between two titans — but, in each case, state units have been let down by central leaders whose doctrinaire intransigence has now forced the Left out in the cold. If the TC-Congress momentum picks up from here, after the 2011 assembly polls in Bengal, left parties might find themselves reduced to a last, tiny bastion of Tripura. They've just proved themselves capable, in real terms, of losing Bengal.