Social Scientist. v 6, no. 66-67 (Jan-Feb 1978) p. 9.


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RAN J IT SAU

West Bengal : A Freak of History or the Tenan of India ?

HISTORY repeated itself: The Congress was routed at the polls twice, once in March, and again in June, 1977. India in effect has taken a steep ascent : the Left Front has come to power in West Bengal with an overwhelming majority. The CPI (M) alone has won 178 seats in a house of 294. This itself is an event of major significance, specially in view of the fact that the Congress Party and the then government machinery under it did for years everything at their command to wipe out the CPI (M) from the map of West Bengal. And yet, the verdict of the elections was unambiguous; not just once, but twice the people of this state expressed themselves in the clearest possible terms, under the most trying conditions.

The two elections reveal a remarkable aspect of the people of India. The people had exercised their franchise with, utmost shrewdness so that the message was loud and clear throughout the land. Those days are gone when they could be taken to ihe polling booth and made to vote at the bidding of the money-bags or their hired vj^astans. And it is also remarkable that they could keep their cards this time close to their chest, out of the sight of the omnipresent RAW. No one could foresee the avalanche of popular wrath which tore down one of the most powerful regimes the world has ever seen, unique though it was with its



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