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    Bengal rout completes CPM's downhill journey

    New Delhi: First the 2009 General Elections and now the Assembly elections - CPI(M) seems to be rolling downhill in the political spectrum.

    This is reflected from the drubbing the party received in West Bengal, its bastion of over three decades, as also Kerala, another stronghold.

    The Assembly polls have been the worst for the party whose reins were taken by Prakash Karat in 2005.

    In 294-member West Bengal Assembly, the major Left party was reduced to two digits from 176 in 2006, losing power after a record 34 years.

    Similarly, it lost power in Kerala though it put up a close fight as its tally was reduced from 61 to 45 in the 140-member Assembly.

    These results follow the same trajectory as was witnessed in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when CPI(M) was reduced to 16 seats from the record 42 in 2004.

    The party promised to analyse thoroughly these results as it did after 2009 elections but a former CPI(M) veteran Somnath Chatterjee attributed the debacle to the party's disconnect with the masses.

    "Clearly there was disconnect with the people and party leaders could not understand the mood of the people," observed Chatterjee, who was expelled from the party in 2008 after he refused to obey the party's diktat to quit Lok Sabha Speaker's post when Left withdrew support to UPA government.

    "Some mistakes were made and proper reviews were not made ...This was already reflected in last Lok Sabha elections even though the Front tried to recover," he said.

    In a statement, the party said Trinamool Congress has reaped the benefits of people's aspiration for "change" to inflict the "big defeat" on the party but admitted that it too has committed "mistakes".

    The party also said the results of West Bengal and Kerala will be a disappointment for the "Left and democratic forces" but this will not make the Left policies and programmes "irrelevant" for the country.