The fading fortunes of the Left got an unexpected boost when two representatives of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, were elected as mayor and deputy mayor in the Shimla Municipal Corporation; a likely flash in the pan. Not only did Sanjay Chauhan and Tikender Singh Panwar create history, they romped home by huge margins over their immediate rivals from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress—the two largest national political parties.
The bad news is that this development came a day after a CPM leader in Kerala audaciously claimed at a public rally that the party would not hesitate to eliminate dissidents. The statement is particularly disconcerting as it came in the backdrop of the murder of a former CPM party member.
The implicit admission of guilt has taken the sheen off the party’s unexpected success in the hills. The big question is whether the CPM’s star is setting over Kerala.