05/13/2011, 00.00
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West Bengal: Communist Party loses after 34 years

by Nirmala Carvalho
Lack of development is behind the result that gives the Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee, minister of Railways, an historic victory. In Kerala, the left also loses votes, as the United Democratic Front closes in on a majority.
Kolkata (AsiaNews) – The Communist Party of India (CPI) has lost the election in West Bengal, a state it had ruled since 1977. It lost to the Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee, federal minister of Railways. ‘It’s a people’s mandate, and we respect the mandate,’ Gurudas Dasgupta, a CPI leader, said.

The results in West Bengal mark an incredible turning point in the country’s electoral history. Elections were held in six phases, starting on 18 April, and results were released today.

In addition to West Bengal, elections were also held in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam.

The CPI is part of the Left Front, an opposition alliance led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

The Trinamool Congress is also left leaning and is the second largest party in the United Progressive Alliance, which governs in New Delhi.

In Kerala, the Communist-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) is fighting to hang on to power. The latest results indicate that they are neck-and-neck with the Congress Party-led United Democratic Front (UDF), which is slightly ahead in terms of state assembly seats, 71 against 67.

“It is the end of 34 years of Marxist rule in West Bengal,” said Fr Paul Thelakat, editor-in-chief of THE newsweekly Satyadeepam (Light of Truth). “They were an anti-development party, keeping the people poor and uneducated.”

“In Kerala, the victory of the United Democratic Front is not so clear-cut. However, it does indicate that voters read issues differently than before. People want parties and candidates that live up to their promises and are willing to serve the public with sincerity and honesty.”

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