Kolkata: The Left Front’s government defeat on the hands of Trinamool Congress after 34 years came as a shock to many, but the political observers are of the view that the Left Front’s failure to woo back Muslim voters was one of the most crucial reasons for their historic defeat in West Bengal.

Observers are of the view that the drift of Muslim voters towards TMC was apparent since the 2008 civic and panchayat elections, but the Left failed to read the shift. 

Out of the 125 assembly, spread over 10 districts seats, with a sizeable Muslim population, TMC-combine won 90 seats.

In June 2008 civic elections, the TMC-Congress combine had registered victory in eight Corporations against Left's five.

Even in the Lok Sabha elections in 2009, the TMC-Congress bagged 26 of the state's 42 seats.

After leading his party to a landslide victory in 2006, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had laid impetus on industrialisation and urbanisation.

The land row in Singur and Nandigram had left the Muslims, especially in rural areas, a worried lot.  Majority of Muslims, who had benefitted from land reforms brought in by the Left Front government in 1977, feared losing their land.

The Sachar Committee report did no good to the Left Front which highlighted the plight of the Muslims in the state. The report, which criticised the government for having done little to uplift the Muslim community, disillusioned them from the Left further.

Hence, political observers suggest, Muslims drifted into Mamata’s camp after she convened agitations against land acquisition at Nandigram and Singur.

The state government tried to reach out to the minority section by luring them with reservation in jobs, education and health benefits but it obviously did not cut much ice in the 2011 assembly elections.

JPN/Bureau