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Decline of the Left and Emergence of Mini Actors in Kerala

The left in Kerala has seen a steady drop in its vote share, while the Bharatiya Janata Party's situation has been the reverse. Paying only ritual obeisance to its core doctrine of struggling for the masses, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front now has little that distinguishes it from the Congress-led United Democratic Front. The political space vacated by the communists, who have failed to produce inspiring young leaders and whose strategies have not moved with the times, is being taken over by smaller parties that, regardless of orientation, stand for the struggle for justice in these neo-liberal days.

The 'Solar Scam' and the Siege at Thiruvananthapuram

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front had announced an indefinite siege of the Kerala state secretariat until the chiefminister owned responsibility for the "solar scam" and resigned. The calling off of this indefinitesiege within 30 hours raises a number of questions, including about the political conduct of the CPI(M) itself.

Varghese Encounter Death Case

The verdict on the Varghese death case in Kerala, one of the earliest encounter deaths in independent India, affirms, four decades after the event, the right of an arrested person not to be tortured or killed. The bipolar polity in existence in Kerala for years, with the left holding sway over the intelligentsia, has ensured that independent judgments are hard to come by in the case of human rights violations. The extra-parliamentary efforts to ensure at least a semblance of justice are left to committed individuals or splinter groups.

CPI(M)'s Mode of Punishment

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s punishment meted out to the Kerala chief minister while leaving untouched the state party secretary in the Lavalin-Lok Sabha 2009 election turmoil bodes ill for the future of the party of the working class.

The Left Debacle in Kerala

A number of the Left Democratic Front's supporters in Kerala moved away from it in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections leading to its poor showing. This must be viewed as a silent revolt by its sympathisers who want it to go back to value-based politics which distinguishes the left from the rest of the political combinations.

Kerala: Disciplining the Political

The recent disciplinary action initiated against two senior state leaders by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s politburo does little to treat the underlying malaise. While symptoms have been tackled, issues of larger concern and vital for Kerala's future continue to be ignored.

Kerala: Elections and After

Whatever be the truth regarding the theory of the successive erosion of the United Democratic Front's mass base, it would be presumptuous to attribute to the poll outcome much more than what is denoted by the popular phrase of anti-incumbency. This of course, notwithstanding the V S Achutanandan factor. Now with the new state ministry in office, given the factional divide in the state CPI(M), if things are decided on the basis of mere pragmatic considerations or compromises worked out to satiate warring factions, the high hopes of the people might sooner than later give way to frustration.

Kerala: Intra-Party Differences

The politburo's acceptance of V S Achutanandan's candidature in the forthcoming assembly elections has been attributed to the latter's popularity among the rank and file. But this is too easy an explanation. VS was sidelined because he chose to question some of his party's more uneasy compromises. That the party leadership refuses to answer these is ironically another instance of its ideological blindness.

KERALA-Literary Style of Politics

of his party's decision to join the electoral mainstream and adhere to constitutional norms (an overemphasis on which seems to have blunted its earlier revolutionary edge as an opponent of the Establishment), one must acknowledge that among its leaders, Nagbhushan was one of the first to identify the new danger that was beginning to threaten the entire Left movement from the late 1980s onwards, In the face of the deadly challenge posed by the Hindu communal forces, Nagbhushan not only intensified his efforts to bring together the scattered revolutionary groups, but also extended his call for unity to all the parliamentary Leftist parties to fight the saffron brigade. It is significant that his last public speech, a few weeks before his death, was delivered at the opening session of the CPI's 17th Party Congress at Chennai. Here he drew the attention of the delegates to the futility of experimenting with United Fronts with disparate parties subscribing to opportunist agen- KERALA Literary Style of Politics K Haridas das, and warned them against joining the Congress chariot as an alternative. He then stressed the need to unite the Left's own forces against the "saffron brigade in power", and reiterated the proposal of his party, the CPI(M-L), to form a broad- based Left confederation rooted in a common programme of struggle. Describing the importance of political co-operation among all sections of the Left as the "primary agenda" today, he appealed to them to march together with "mutual respect" and strike with all their combined strength against the common enemy.

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