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Title: 1 | P a g e Confronting the ‘Congress System’ in West Bengal: Electoral Strategies of the CPI in the 1950s1
Other Titles: Journal of POLITICAL STUDIES, Vol. 12, March-October 2016, pp 01-20
Authors: Jana, Arun K
Keywords: Congress System
Working Class
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: At the time of Independence Communists support in West Bengal was highly uneven across districts and among classes. It was largely confined to the working class areas in and around the capital, Calcutta. When the CPI decided to contest the West Bengal Assembly elections in 1951 it was not the only Left party which contested. There were several other that competed like the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), the two factions of the Forward Bloc, the Bolshevik Party of India etc. In the 1957 elections however the number of Left parties that were in the electoral fray declined. The CPI clearly emerged as the leading Left party in the state by 1957. The electoral strength and support of the CPI went on increasing from 28 seats with 10.76 percent of the votes in 1951-52 to 46 seats with 17.81 percent of votes in 1957. Its performance in the parliamentary elections in the state was also remarkable. Out of the 15 seats which it won in the country as a whole in 1952, 5 were from West Bengal. In 1957 the state supplied 6 of the 27 members of the party which were elected to the Lok Sabha. This electoral as well as the social expansion of the CPI in the 1950s is remarkable considering that the Congress like elsewhere in the Country enjoyed dominance in the state in the 1950s and early 1960s. How was the CPI able to expand its social base in the state in the 1950s? What strategies it pursued to challenge the domination of the Congress in the state? These are the questions which the paper attempts to answer.
ISSN: 2278-4039
Appears in Collections:Vol. 12, (March-October 2016)

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