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Two once powerful Bengal political landmarks stand desolate on counting day

Thursday - May 23, 2019 11:56 pm , Category : INDIA
Kolkata, May 23 (IANS) Amid the bustle in West Bengal on Thursday over the 2019 election results, which turned the state into a bipolar battleground between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the upcoming BJP, silence reigned over two of Kolkata's iconic buildings, named after two stalwarts who once dictated the political rhetoric of the state.
The Muzaffar Ahmed Bhawan, the state headquarters of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and named after its founder Muzaffar Ahmed, looked deserted with no leaders inside.
In sharp contrast to its days of glory, when the CPI-M-led Left Front ruled the state for 34 long years till it was voted out in 2011, the road in front of the building located on central Kolkata's Alimuddin Street was dark and empty.
A group of young activists and police personnel sitting at the portico discussed the election results in hushed voices. The CPI-M led Left Front, which ruled Bengal for 34 years, failed to lead in a single seat in the 2019 elections
An office-bearer on the ground floor said "all leaders have left for the day."
Approached, an activist expressed disappointment with the party's result, but was even more "surprised" at the unprecedented surge of BJP.
"It is undoubtedly a bad day for communism. But what is more surprising is that the people of Bengal are accepting a divisive force like the BJP. May be they are looking for an alternative to save themselves from Trinamool's dictatorship. The Left needs to deeply introspect about its performance this year," he said.
Earlier in the day, CPI-M's state General Secretary Surjya Kanta Misra termed the poll trends in Bengal as "unprecedented and unthinkable" for the party.
Around two and half km away, Bidhan Bhavan, the head office of Congress' Bengal unit--named after the state's second Chief Minister Bidhan Chandra Roy, looked equally desolate on Thursday evening.
The Congress, once a formidable force in Bengal, was leading in only two seats -- Malda South and Baharampur, as per latest trends.
The media centre on the ground floor was locked from outside and hardly anybody could be seen in the four storied building.
A few glum-faced activists were watching television where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech after the party's thumping victory across the nation, was being telecast.
State Congress President Somen Mitra was huddled in his chamber on the fourth floor with some senior party leaders.
"The party's performance is certainly disappointing.
"We never expected that BJP will make inroads in Bengal to this extent. It is unprecedented in our political career. The saddest part is that it is an ominous sign for Bengal. The ruling Trinamool Congress is solely responsible for this situation," he said.

--IANS mgr/ssp/vd