From the Communist Party of Australia’s Guardian of 12 July, 2006
The sweeping electoral triumph of the Bengal Left Front under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was replete with significance. For the seventh consecutive time a Communist-led government could be established in a country within the confines of a bourgeois-landlord State led by the big bourgeoisie. This in itself is perhaps unprecedented in the political annals of the world. Certainly, the triumphant continuous existence of the Left Front government in Bengal has created a new chapter in the history of India.
The Left Front is not a coalition of convenience. It is not a mere electoral alliance. It has come up through the rigours of struggle. It is deeply set in the hearts and minds of the people, especially of the toiling masses. The Left Front government is a government with a difference.
A few instances of the pro-people outlook of the Bengal Left Front government may be cited. In 1977, the first Left Front government was swept to office riding on a popular wave. In 1978, the new government put into practice a comprehensive program of land redistribution where big areas of surplus land were redistributed among the rural poor. At the same time the new government organised to secure the rights of sharecroppers. In the same year, elections to the rural panchayats (village councils) were held and these third-tier institutions have functioned since as the rural government.
Irrigated land parcels grew rapidly. In less than 25 years the state of Bengal became surplus in food production. The economic base of the state was built up solidly and the base was located in the realm of land reforms and agricultural growth.
In 1994 a state industrial policy under the stewardship of the then chief minister Jyoti Basu was introduced. Infrastructure was built up rapidly and in a coordinated manner, including communications, roadways etc.