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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 12, New Delhi, March 6, 2021

New Language of Politics of the Left | Arup Kumar Sen

Friday 5 March 2021, by Arup Kumar Sen

On the eve of the assembly elections, West Bengal has witnessed a new development in the domain of politics. The Left-Congress alliance fought the assembly elections in 2016 as a united front. The new development prior to the assembly elections of 2021 is that a new party - Indian Secular Front (ISF) – floated about a month back by a prominent preacher of a well-known religious shrine in Bengal (Furfura Sharif), Abbas Siddiqui, has joined the alliance as a third party. Reportedly, the ISF supporters “were the liveliest” among the participants in the pre-election joint public rally convened by the alliance on February 28, 2021. (See the Report of Himadri Ghosh, The Wire, March 1, 2021)

It is difficult to predict how the joining of the ISF will improve the electoral prospect of the Left-Congress alliance in the forthcoming assembly elections in which the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are the main contenders, according to the outcome of the last parliamentary elections held in 2019.

The Left in West Bengal never formed an electoral united front with a party directly floated by an influential religious preacher. In fact, community and religious identities are anathema to Left politics. The paradox lies in the fact that the one-month-old ISF is a secular party by its name but organically linked to a popular religious cult.

The above political development makes us feel that the Left in West Bengal will not hesitate to make formal alliance with popular religious cults in the coming days for improving its electoral prospects.

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