» Election » 'Mamata's win has nothing to do with the Tatas'

'Mamata's win has nothing to do with the Tatas'

May 19, 2009 12:42 IST
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The Revolutionary Socialist Party is a member of the Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist. Since CPI-M leaders have gone silent after the party's debacle in Bengal and Kerala,'s A Ganesh Nadar caught up with RSP General Secretary T J Chandrachoodan at his New Delhi home to find out how the Left Front has reacted to its losses in the 2009 general election.

Chandrachoodan, 69, is a professor who joined the RSP secretariat in Kerala in 1975 and was elevated to the party's central secretariat 15 years later. Like the CPI-M, the RSP is influential in Bengal and Kerala.

Where does the Left go from here?

We go back to our platform. We do have a platform. We are not going to change our ideology because of one election. That was a transitory phase where we were in the limelight. Now, we are not. We have been eclipsed. We will take it in our stride.

Earlier we were showing our opposition to wrong policies in Parliament because we had a sizable presence there. Now that our strength in the Lok Sabha has gone down we will show our dissent by agitation.

Our roots lie in agitating for the people. Whenever we have not agreed to any policy of the government we have always taken to the streets to enlighten the people. We will continue to do so.

If we don't like a particular economic policy or foreign policy we will agitate as always.

In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee won the election despite chasing out the Tatas. How did this happen? Are the state's people happy that the Tatas left?

The election results have got nothing to do with the Tatas. It has everything to do with the policies of the West Bengal government. They were too much in a hurry. They should not have hurried through with the land acquisition.

It was brutal, their hurry to evict people for that factory. They should have done it gently. They should have gone to the people and explained the benefits of the factory to their lives.

They should have waited for the people to come forward and give the land themselves.

They should have first resettled the people. Rehabilitation should have been done before acquisition.

And after going through all that trouble, the Tatas left. This added to the government's woes. They lost the respect of the voters. The land owners said, 'First they threw us out, now the Tatas have left. Why did they throw us out in the first place?'

This was the reason that Mamata won, it has nothing to do with the Tatas.

Where did you think the Left went wrong?

One election does not change everything.

We will analyse the reasons and take action. It's a big task. We will be looking at every state separately and try to find the reasons why we lost.

What happened in Kerala? Why did you alienate the sole Janata Dal-Secular minister Mathew T Thomas there?

That was a big mistake. By denying the Janata Dal-S one seat, we ended up losing four. He is not an ordinary man. JD-S chief Veerendra Kumar commands a lot of respect among the people. And most important of all, Veerendra Kumar owns Kerala's second largest newspaper Mathruboomi.

He unleashed the power of that paper on us and ensured we lost four seats which were earlier considered CPI-M strongholds. We should never underestimate the power of the media. One of the reasons we lost was that paper.

What about Abdul Nasser Madani? You know what people think of him in Coimbatore?

That might have also caused us to lose votes. I cannot say anything about that. We have two major fronts in Kerala whose votes do not come on communal lines. But Madani might have been a factor for those who think on those lines.

Let us talk about a non-Communist state. You know what happened in Mangalore. How come the BJP won that constituency and also that state?

It shows the ugly face of Hindutva forces.

I am not asking you about the Hindutva forces I am asking you about the people who voted for them.

That is a sad part about Indian society. We think our culture does not permit girls to go to pubs, wear jeans.

I still don't think that Hindu Dharma advocates violence against women.

I am not saying that. What I am saying is that incidents like this tend to polarise voters into supporters of Hindutva and those who don't. So the more people protest against such behaviour, a section goes out of its way to show support. Thus, they win and communal politics bares its fangs.

You are confident of coming back strongly.

We started off a long ago. We have seen ups and downs over the years. This will be just one more election we faced and lost. We have also won in the past and we will win in the future.

What you have to appreciate is the fact that we are a party with an ideology. We will never change our ideology for victory or defeat. We will look at our weaknesses and rectify them, but our ideology will remain the same.

Photograph: A Ganesh Nadar

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