15 May 2011

Communist govt defeated in West Bengal

10:15 am on 15 May 2011

The world's longest-serving elected communist government has accepted defeat in a state election in India.

The communists have been in power in West Bengal (population 90 million) since 1977, but are now blamed for the state's economic decline.

The Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee is on course to win a landslide victory.

Ms Banerjee is a federal ally of the Congress party and the two parties fought the election together.

She says the communists have failed West Bengal's 90 million people by causing its economic decline.

''This is a victory of democracy, victory of 'Maa, Maati Manush' (mother, land and people),'' Ms Banerjee told her supporters after early trends gave her party a massive majority.

''We will give good governance. There will be an end to autocracy and atrocities. This is the victory of people against years of oppression.''

The BBC reports the scale of the defeat was clear enough for Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya to tender his resignation to the state governor.

Mr Bhattacharya lost his seat, as did most other leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Other results

The communists are also facing a stiff challenge in the southern state of Kerala. The BBC reports the result appears too close to call.

In Assam in the northeast, the Congress party looks set to be returned with a large majority.

In Tamil Nadu, a Congress ally has been defeated by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, led by former film actress J Jayalalitha, which won in a landslide.