1998 Elections in West Bengal: Dwindling of the Left Front?

Bidyut Chakrabarty
Economic and Political Weekly
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Despite a clear polarisation between urban and rural voters, the 1998 West Bengal poll results reconfirm the popularity of the left coalition at the grass roots. Though the electoral result, wherein the Left Front's share of votes declined, suggests more of a negative vote against the state government, the Trinamul Congress-BJP combination nevertheless did provide a strong forum to those opposed to the Left Front, especially in urban areas. Besides the vilification campaign against Mamata Banerjee and the deplorable conditions of civic amenities, the declining industrial employment opportunities has rendered the CPI(M)-led government unpopular among urban masses. Though the share of urban votes is less than rural votes, the Left Front can continue to neglect the grievances of the city-dwellers only at its own peril. www.jstor.org/stable/4407475