ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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CPI(M) in Trouble

Unwilling to learn from its reverses, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is struggling to fi ght a decline.

It has been a rough period for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)]. The accusations of involvement of party activists in the murder of former Kerala partyman and then leader of the Revolutionary Marxist Party, T P Chandrasekharan, the open expression of disenchantment by some of the younger activists in New Delhi and the dissolution of the Students Federation of India (SFI) unit in Jawaharlal Nehru University (which over the decades has nurtured several intellectual voices for the left movement) for taking a political position against the party’s decision on the presidential elections, suggest that the reports about the CPI(M)’s decline are not exaggerated.

The CPI(M) suffered a rout in the West Bengal assembly elections in 2011 after enjoying a long spell in power. The defeat was clearly due to a loss of support among the peasantry – which was angry in particular with the CPI(M)-led Left Front government’s land acquisition policies for industrialisation – as also due to the slow but steady erosion of support from the middle classes who were disenchanted with the arrogant ways of the party’s leadership as well as cadre. In Kerala, the party came close to staging an upset, largely due to the personal standing of their only mass leader in the state and then chief minister V S Achuthanandan. Yet, just months after this near victory, the party machinery in the state has endeavoured to isolate Achuthanandan in a factional battle that sees no end. The accusation of the murder of Chandrasekharan who was close to Achuthanandan has only further sullied the CPI(M)’s image.

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