By any standard, it was a spectacular election: votes in five phases( extending over a month),central paramilitary forces guarding the booths, EC observers watching the vote process, and strict adherence to rules while checking the voters.
The election was, of course, free and fair, nobody complaining - perhaps first of its kind since independence. But it cost about one hundred crores of the Exchequer.
What was the result? The Left Front, whom the Election Commission seemed to teach a lesson, fared even better this time. It bagged 235 seats out of 293. Last election the number of won seats was 199.
Inference: Bengal has a left-leaning population, and it would not elect a rightist government even after twenty nine years of uninterrupted leftist rule. Something strange considering that the Marxists have undergone sea change during this long period,and they are now more pro-rich than pro-poor.
Of course, the rightists are in poor shape in this state. They have no solid organization, and are visible only around election time. Their leaders have also less credibility vis-a-vis the leftists.
So it's hard to say if the leftists have won on negative, rather than, positive votes in this election.