ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Who Supported the Left in West Bengal?

The article on West Bengal by Jyotiprasad Chatterjee and Suprio Basu in the National Election Study (NES) 2009, published in your journal does not throw much light on what caused the debacle of the Left in the 2009 elections. It is claimed that historically the “agricultural workers, the poor peasants and other exploited sections, primarily of the rural society …constitute the support base of the LF in West Bengal” (p 152). According to the NES postpoll survey this base remains almost intact in 2009, compared to 2004. If in the case of agricultural workers, the Left has lost 2 percentage points in 2009, in the case of marginal farmers and sharecroppers, it gained 1 percentage point. Hence, the loss is marginal.

A substantial erosion of support for the Left in rural areas has taken place in respect of the other two occupational groups, namely, skilled/semi-skilled workers (16%) and farmers (26%). There are few rural voters in the former group, but the latter group contains a sizeable number of rural voters.

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