Left accepts defeat in West Bengal, Kerala

Last Updated: Fri, May 13, 2011 08:35 hrs

New Delhi/Kolkata: The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Friday accepted defeat in West Bengal, where a Trinamool Congress wave crushed it, and in Kerala, where it narrowly lost to the Congress.

"People have voted for change. We accept the verdict," CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury said in New Delhi, referring to the massive rout in West Bengal after 34 years of uninterrupted Left Front rule.

"What are the reasons for our defeat remains to be seen," he added.

Yechury also said the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) had lost only narrowly -- 71 to 69 seats -- in the battle for the 140-member Kerala assembly.

"Even this very slender majority for the Congress has only come because of the combination of communal forces," he said.

Yechury, however, said the achievements of the Left government in West Bengal over the past 34 years should not be lost sight of while discussing the Trinamool sweep. The state has a 294-member assembly.

Earlier, Guruduas Dasgupta of the Communist Party of India (CPI) said: "It's a people's mandate, and we respect the mandate."

Denying that the West Bengal verdict meant the annihilation of the Left in the state, he said: "We will continue to remain in the battlefield."

Dasgupta briefly analysed what had gone wrong for the Left in Bengal.

"When we came into power, we were very dedicated to rural development," he said, adding that some of the later policies related to land and workers were faulty.

He admitted that the Left did not realise this.

"It is a collective failure," he added, when asked if the CPI-M alone was to blame for the stunning electoral loss.

CPI is one of the junior partners in the Left Front that is headed by the CPI-M. The Left has ruled West Bengal since 1977.

More from Sify: