Ashok Mitra, former finance minister of West Bengal and a leading intellectual, has been critical of the LF government in the state for some time now. He has been searing in his critique of the "industrialisation" initiative, in the manner that this was brought about. At the same time, he has been cautioning against the shift of power from the LF to rabid demagogues of "the lady's" variety. Post the Lok Sabha elections, the fiery writer had written an article that assessed the reasons for the defeat but in my opinion, erroneously called for the resignation of the LF government.
He makes a similar assessment in this particular article in the Telegraph, titled "Hard Times ...". Calling for a reorientation of the Left to its moorings and to stay true to the "formidable mass organizations representing major segments of peasants, workers and the middle and lower middle-classes, including from the minority communities", he invokes a call for the left to reorient itself and to project the alternative that the rest of India would look up to, for
"Any weakening on its part may cause some short-term jubilation in the ranks of the conventional parties on the right and the middle but the real beneficiaries will be the non-parliamentary Left out on the lawless road".
He is also quite clear on the incorrect reasoning - the withdrawal of support to the UPA - attributed to the losses by the LF, prevalent among sections of the Left leadership in the state.
This writer does not agree with his prescriptions of a whole-scale change of guard in West Bengal. But the article makes some other important assessments and conclusions that are indeed very constructive.
The entire article can be read here.