New Delhi: The Communist Party of India-Marxist, or CPM, on Monday conceded that the party leadership erred in the calls it took in the run-up to the state elections in its bastions West Bengal and Kerala.
The CPM also indicated that the flip-flop over the candidacy of former Kerala chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan cost the party in the state.
In Kerala, the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) lost by four seats to the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). In West Bengal, the party-led Left Front faced a humiliating drubbing by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress after three decades of ruling the state.
For the cadre-based CPM that emphasizes on discipline, the poor results could lead to organizational changes and a political course correction.
The party politburo and its central committee—its apex decision-making body—will meet in Hyderabad on 10-12 June to discuss the results.
“The Left Front government (in West Bengal) over the three decades registered significant achievements. Despite these, there were shortcomings in the political, governmental and organizational spheres,” the CPM politburo said in a statement on Monday.
The party put up a brave front still, claiming it had got 41% of the votes polled in West Bengal.
Paul Zachariah, a Thiruvananthapuram-based writer and political analyst, said the CPM has to review its stance on politics and society. “They have to reconsider their stands, policies, approach, make shifts, and rework their philosophies in a way to join the democratic government,” he said. “It is not a matter of talking in the air about revolution and socialism, it is the matter of implementing.”
The LDF has ruled alternate terms in Kerala since 1957. The slender margin in the latest assembly elections was the thinnest in the state’s history of coalition politics.
After the politburo meeting, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat acknowledged the 87-year-old Achuthanandan’s role in mobilizing the party in the state. “The role of comrade V.S. Achuthanandan was very important in rallying large sections of people,” Karat said.
After initially being denied a party ticket, Achuthanandan led the LDF to a better-than-expected performance in an unusually personality-driven election.
Achuthanandan had been expelled from the CPM’s politburo in 2009 on grounds of indiscipline.
In West Bengal, the party was reduced to a mere 40 seats in a 294-seat assembly, from its tally of 176 in the previous elections.
Karat denied media reports that former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who did not attend Monday’s meeting, had offered to resign from the politburo. “Nobody has resigned or offered to resign,” he said.
Zachariah said infighting within the CPM’s organizational structure in Kerala cost the party the election despite the welfare schemes it had introduced.
“Had there been no infighting, I think the party could have come back to power with a reasonable majority,” he said.
The CPM’s politburo expressed concern over alleged post-poll violence in West Bengal. The party said it would, together with other Left parties, “protest against such anti-democratic attacks”.
“The politburo calls upon the entire party and the Left forces to stand behind the CPM and the Left Front in West Bengal to face this onslaught,” it said in its statement.