West Bengal signals death of communism

By Mahendra Ved

THE road to the dictatorship of the proletariat, Vladimir Lenin once said, lay from Moscow to Beijing to Calcutta.

In 1890, Swami Vivekananda wrote in Adwaita Ashram Journal about the “beginning of a new era either in Russia or China”. He made no reference to India. India’s communists claim that Vivekananda’s views are similar to those of Karl Marx.

While Moscow demolished Lenin’s statues after seven decades of experiment, Beijing, though formally communist, has turned pragmatic, even capitalist, courting multinational corporations.

Indians are not given to breaking statues. Lenin’s statue, which adorns the main square of Calcutta, now Kolkata, may remain untouched. But the city from where the British once ruled large parts of Asia has just witnessed a political shocker that is a red signal for the Reds.

This month’s civic elections show that the communists, ruling West Bengal for a record 34 years, are in trouble. A series of setbacks for the comrades — from the village panchayat polls in 2008 through last year’s parliamentary elections — underscore the deep popular disenchantment with them.

Come the state assembly polls a year away, there is every chance that the Left Front might be defeated.

Squabbling communists also rule in Kerala. Going by the trend of power being won and lost every five years, it is their turn to lose.

 

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