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Can CPI-M plenum in Kolkata revive left?

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Kolkata: It will not be an overstatement to say that the forthcoming plenum of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Kolkata will decide not only the fate of the party in the coming days but also the existence of the Left politics.

That the CPI-M has been forced to call the plenum 36 years after the last – and theoretically disastrous – one held in Salkia (Howrah/West Bengal) in 1979, is sufficient proof that the party is in a deep crisis and is groping in the dark for charting a new course.

Still, there is no indication that the party will be able to tide over the follies of the 1979 plenum, which had actually opened the floodgate of entry into the CPI-M of riff-raff elements that were completely devoid of any kind of initiation in communist thought. Moreover, the CPI-M is still suffering the legacy of the personalized and less-than-democratic leadership represented by Prakash Karat and his ilk.

In the 21st party Congress in Visakhapatnam last April, Sitaram Yechury, the incumbent general secretary, had, in fact, tried to present a different policy and programme. That his model gained immediate and wide acceptance is a pointer to the need of a reappraisal being felt by the party rank and file.

But the ignorance of the party leadership in unbelievable. P Karunakaran, the CPI-M leader in the Lok Sabha, is still at a loss to understand why his party is unable to fill up the space created by the continuing weakening of the Congress or why the BJP at the centre and regional parties at the states are pushing the CPI-M towards irrelevance. He is also worried about dwindling membership in various frontal organizations of the party.

Karunakaran’s statement is a classic case of self-deception, a deadly virus which has affected a great section of the party leadership. The actual reasons for the CPI-M’s irrelevance lie in ossification of its ideology, a belief in the largely-rejected theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, rampant factionalism, corruption and cultivation of mediocrity as was witnessed in West Bengal, the party’s biggest laboratory for various experiments.

The National Election Studies (NES) provides an analytical picture of the Left’s electoral standing in present-day India. In the 2014 parliamentary elections, the Left as a whole, which includes not just the CPI-M but other like-minded parties CPI, Forward Bloc, RSP and the like, won 12 seats (of the Lok Sabha’s 543-elected seats) but commanded only 4.8 percent votes of the country – as against 10.6 percent in 1989.

Since 2004, when the Left bloc had won 62 Lok Sabha seats, its share of votes came down by more than half in 2014. Most importantly, there are no more any signs of Left influence in states like Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, where the bloc previously had a good support base.

A comparative estimate of the Left’s electoral performance at the all-India level would show that there is not much justification behind Karunakaran’s sudden realization that the CPI-M is not doing well in states other than West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura.

In the rest of India, barring these three states, the Left is constantly on the retreat. From 13 Lok Sabha seats and 3.6 percent votes in 1989, it slumped to 9 seats and 2.6 percent votes in 1996, seven seats and 1.5 percent votes in 2004 and no seat with an abysmal 0.6 percent votes in 2014.

It is to be remembered here that 2004 was the high-water mark of Left politics in its traditional strongholds of the three states. Its performance in the rest of India in the same year points out that Sitaram Yechury and his comrades in the CPI-M and other Left parties can write off states other than West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. Even in West Bengal, the Left parties are in shambles. This is because the bloc’s near absence at the all-India level has told upon its fortunes in West Bengal.

The Left is steadily losing its traditional voter base. So long, this hovered around 7 to 10 percent of total voters. In 2014, the figure came down to less than three percent. In 2014, less than five percent of skilled and service workers voted for them.

Among agricultural labourers, less than three percent voted for Left candidates. This should cause consternation among Left leaders that in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress had a 10 percent lead over the Left parties among skilled, semi-skilled urban workers and agricultural labourers.

For the CPI-M, the revival of party fortunes will be extremely difficult, even in West Bengal. Its dwindling strength has helped Mamata Banerjee leave the Left behind in the national political arena as well. Obviously, the CPI-M has lost credibility by speaking against neo-liberalism and at the same time following neo-liberal economic measures, whose main proponent was former chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee.(IANS)

(Amitava Mukherjee)

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Kerala Emerging as Epitome of Red Terror in India

Political clashes and the frequent approach of aggressiveness and extremism adopted by the leftists need to be addressed bringing all stakeholders together

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RSS Activist
Communism flag in Kerala. Wikimedia Commons
  • Rajesh, an activist for the RSS, was brutally murdered in Thiruvananthapuram
  • The Bharatiya Janta Party’s Kerala Unit has alleged Community Party of India’s members and followers for the red terror
  • Both the parties have a history of being in physical conflict frequently in the state

July 30, 2017: On Saturday, RSS Activist Rajesh Edvakode was found critically injured in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. Hours after the attack, Rajesh’s body gave up and he died. The victim’s hand was chopped off allegedly by workers and followers of the Communist Party of India (CPI-M). This incident has once again highlighted the constant red terror crimes in India at the hands of the aggressive left ideology.

Also Read: The Dangerous Ideology behind Communism: Why is it a Delusion?

BJP has reacted by calling a state-wide strike. The Kerala unit of the party has alleged the CPI-M members of committing the gruesome murder and given the history of conflict between the two parties, it is understandable why. Also given the fact that Kerala is haunted by the red terror propagandists who admire the hammer and sickle too much, the BJP was quick to respond. Eight suspects have been arrested by the police and it has been revealed that they have links with the Communist Party.

Along the political violence, Rajesh, a 34-year-old follower of the RSS on which the BJP has founded its principles, has been murdered.

In the press statement, Manoj Abraham, Inspector General of Police stated, “The attack was by a gang of men involving CPM (Communist Party of India (Marxist) activists. However, there was a long history of enmity between one of the accused and the victim. We are also probing any angle of a political motive.”

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Two days ago, there was a violent conflict between the CPI and BJP members. On Thursday evening, an incident broke out into a fight between the two parties. The left ideology adherents were triggered by an assault to a left wing youth flag. The triggered leftists then vandalized residences of BJP members. Initially, six RSS members were arrested by the police. Further, four CPI-M members were also arrested.

Left wing youth members and the CPI-M counselor was caught on CCTV footage throwing stones at the BJP office. They too have been arrested.

The Communist Party in a press release denied any such accusations and allegations. However, given the political clashes in the past and the frequent approach of aggressiveness and extremism adopted by the leftists, the red terror problem, particularly in Kerala, needs to be addressed bringing all stakeholders together.

Kerala’s remarkable achievements as a forceful Indian state have been overshadowed by the rising political violence. Left wing aggressiveness is a reality in India, especially in certain states.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Party suspends Tripura CPI-M leader Subal Rudra for grabbing Bidi workers’ Land

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Subal Rudra, CPI-M leader (Source: www.vishwagujarat.com)
  • Rudra was elected to assembly fro 5 times since CPI-M led Left Front government came in Tripura in 1978
  • The Tripura government had allotted 3.2 hectares to the bidi workers in 1993 in Melaghar in Sipahijala district
  • Half of the land was allowed for housing 45 families while rest was kept for construction of a school and other civic amenities

Subal Rudra, a veteran CPI-M leader and former deputy speaker of the assembly, was suspended from the party for allegedly grabbing land of bidi workers; said Party leader on Tuesday, June 28.

“After an internal inquiry of the party about allegation of grabbing land against Rudra, he was suspended from the party for a year,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Tripura state secretary Bijan Dhar told IANS.

Bijan Dhar (Source: freepressjournal.in)
Bijan Dhar (Source: freepressjournal.in)

Dhar, also a CPI-M central committee member, said that party probe found that the accusation of land grabbing against Rudra was correct.

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The 66-year-old leader refused to comment on his suspension.

“I have received the suspension letter. I have not yet made up my mind about my future course of action. I would not make any comment at this moment,” Rudra, a CPI-M Tripura state committee member, told IANS over phone.

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The Tripura government had allotted 3.2 hectares to the bidi workers in 1993 in Melaghar in Sipahijala district. Half of the land was allowed for housing 45 families while rest was kept for construction of a school and other civic amenities.

Bidi maker (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Bidi maker (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Rudra is alleged to have grabbed a portion of this land. Rudra was elected to assembly fro 5 times since CPI-M led Left Front government came in Tripura in 1978. (IANS)

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-by IANS

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Governor’s Rule no answer to Jammu and Kashmir’s problems: CPI-M’s Mohammed Tarigami

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New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir needs a coalition of regional parties to keep out the BJP, the CPI-M’s lone legislator in the state, Mohammed Tarigami says, however adding that he doesn’t expect this to happen anytime soon.

Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami said his party always knew that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition was “an alliance of opportunists”. “Their so-called ‘Agenda of Alliance’ or ‘common minimum programme’ was merely a façade to gain power,” Tarigami told reporters over the telephone amid continuing political impasse in the state.

“Now, after (Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed) Sayeed’s demise, they are finding it difficult to re-enforce the alliance as the PDP-BJP combine has no common ground to rule, their agenda is ambiguous,” said the long-time legislator from Kulgam in south Kashmir.

Ever since her father Mufti Sayeed died in early January, Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor’s Rule because PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has refused to form a government with the BJP.

Speculation has it that the PDP and the BJP marriage has run into rough weather, although no one says it in so many words. Opposition parties in the state, however, feel the two are indulging in a political drama.

The National Conference, the PDP’s main foe in the Kashmir Valley, wants fresh elections. Tarigama disagrees.

“There is no need for fresh elections and waste taxpayers’ money. The state leaders should set aside their minor differences and come together to form a strong government,” he said. “They should look at the larger picture of the defeating divisive BJP-RSS policy in Kashmir.”

The PDP and the BJP are the largest and second largest parties in splintered Jammu and Kashmir assembly. The National Conference and the Congress are in the third and fourth spots.

“If you look at it, they claimed to have come together to bridge the gap between the three regions of the state. They clearly failed to do that. Or else there wouldn’t be a problem today to re-enforce the alliance.”

Would the CPI-M, with just one member in the 87-seat assembly, support an alliance minus the BJP?

“Yes, but as of now no such thing seems likely to happen,” he said.

“However, if the PDP decides to sever ties with BJP, regional parties can and definitely should come together for the greater good and form a secular and strong government in the state.”

He said the Communist Party of India-Marxist would any day support a government that respects people’s mandate and does not hurt the sentiments of any community.

Tarigami said Governor’s Rule was no answer to Jammu and Kashmir’s problems. “Governors Rule means Centre’s rule, in other words BJP’s rule.”

“The state has witnessed an unprecedented rise in incidents of communally driven violence (with the BJP pulling the strings). Jammu and Kashmir has no future with the BJP (in power).

“Babus cannot address the immediate concerns of the people. They (people) feel disconnected from the state machinery now,” the veteran politician added.

Tarigami argued that he was sure the PDP and the BJP would finally shake hands to again rule the country’s only Muslim-majority state.

“It won’t be surprising for me that the PDP-BJP will form a government. These two parties have always played with people’s sentiments. Their only aim is to gain power at any cost.”

“I’m certain they will work out their so-called differences in the coming days to form a new government.” (Shamshad Ali, IANS)(Image Courtesy: The Hindu)