KOLKATA: Despite its Lok Sabha seat count in West Bengal down to zero and reduction of vote share in the last general elections, the publishing house of CPI (M) has made an encouraging business during the Durga puja festival with increasing sales of the Marxist literature.
The publishing arm of the party, National Book Agency (NBA), has received an overwhelming response for former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya's recent book on China and witnessed a huge footfall of visitors in its stalls in the state, party sources said.
"Both the sales and curiosity about the books in our stalls have increased by leaps and bounds this time.
Two editions of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya's latest book on China -"Swarger Niche Mahabishrinkhala (Chaos under Paradise)"- have already been sold out.
We are going for the printing of the third edition," NBA chairman Anirudha Chakraborty told PTI.
However, Chakraborty declined to divulge the details of the sales figure and the number of books sold in the stalls.
The NBA had come up with more than 1,100 bookstalls in the state during the puja this year.
"Unlike last seven years, we have not faced any problem from the ruling TMC or any harassment by the police for setting up of bookstalls in the state," said a CPI(M) leader.
The CPI(M), which has been facing a tough time in the state in coping with the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP, was encouraged by the visitors' passion to make a turnaround in state politics.
"The response from the people for Marxist literature is both astonishing and encouraging.
We feel that due to the rise of ideologically driven RSS-BJP in Bengal, people of the state are also looking for an alternative which is driven by opposite ideology.
TMC is an opportunist party and has no ideological base," a senior CPI(M) central committee member said.
The BJP and TMC, however, declined to attach much importance to growth of book sales at NBA stalls.
"In our books stalls, there has been a huge response among the masses. People from all walks of life have visited our stalls and interacted with our party workers. They inquired about the books that were up for sale.
It is absurd to say that the CPI (M) is making a turnaround with increasing sales of the Left literature," senior BJP leader Pratap Banerjee said.
The saffron party this time had set up more than 10,000 stalls outside puja pandals to display books on its ideology and making people aware of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
TMC secretary-general and state minister Partha Chatterjee said there have been huge sales of books written by party supremo Mamata Banerjee at its Jago Bangla stalls.
"The CPI(M) is a spent force in Bengal. It is only TMC which is fighting against BJP in the state. The CPI(M) has a covert understanding with the saffron party," Chatterjee said.
Durga Puja draws the maximum number of people to the pandals in West Bengal and the ruling and the opposition parties are using the occasion to reach out to them.
Like previous years, the political parties this time had set up stalls to sell books espousing their ideologies and to connect with the people.