The limitation of the author's argument is that it seeks to refute some criticism of the erstwhile Left Front government of West Bengal while offering none of its own. In my mind no discussion on the strategy of the Left in India vis-a-vis joining a state government is complete without offering any cogent reasons as to what lead to the spectacular defeat of the Left in 2011. Yes, the CPI(M)'s strategy in joining a state government is to aid the cause of the revolution by pursuing alternative policies, but the corollary is that there was some failure is being able to pursue alternative policies which caused it to lose public support. My own contention is that the liberalisation regime has caused a tremendous stress on state finances and forced states to engage in competitive bidding for private capital. This has reduced the bargaining power of the states and their ability to offer 'alternative' policies. If this is true then the strategy of using a state government to provide support to the revolution gets limited. In such a situation the a state government of the Left needs to be backed up by a rock solid organisation which is able to communicate with the people. On this count too the Left Front, particularly the CPI(M) in Bengal had shortcomings. Barring this the argument which can be put forward is that the defeat was a result of a monumental conspiracy hatched by the right wing, the media and corporate interests. The final explanation is unsatisfactory to say the least.
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