New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, admitted that the party had failed to gauge the pulse of the people in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections in which the party has shown its worst electoral performance.

A total of nine CPM members were elected to the Lok Sabha, seven less than in the 2009 national elections. Its vote share too went down to 3.2% in the 2014 elections, compared with 5.33% in 2009.

CPM’s politburo, the party’s apex decision making body, acknowledged this during its three-day meeting that ended on Sunday.

In the meeting, CPM’s central leadership came under attack for its failure to sense the popular mood and put up a credible secular front.

According to a party leader, there was criticism against the leadership’s failure to keep the secular forces together at least in Varanasi where Narendra Modi, contesting on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket, won by a massive 371,000 votes. The leader declined to be named. CPM’s candidate against Modi won only 2,457 votes. It also did not succeed in securing the anti-government vote in West Bengal where the BJP has tripled its vote-share from the 2009 elections.In 2009 too, when its tally came down from 43 to 16, the leading Left party had admitted that it had failed to put up a credible secular alternative.

The party in its review then had said that it had “suffered serious reverses" and added that at the “certain wrong trends and practices have adversely affected relations with the people".

The 15-member politburo also reported to the central committee that some leaders had offered to step down, but the party has deferred such contentious issues to the next central committee meeting.

Four members of the politburo had offered to step down for various reasons: Sitaram Yechury over the poll drubbing, Nirupam Sen owing to his health, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya who has often not been attending politburo meetings since the party was thrown out of power in West Bengal and M.A. Baby who lost the Kollam Lok Sabha seat in Kerala.

Former Kerala chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan criticized the state leadership for the weakening of the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) had left the front on the eve of the general elections after CPM denied a ticket to its candidate in the Kollam Lok Sabha seat; RSP then joined the United Democratic Front (UDF). Baby was defeated by RSP’s N.K. Premachandran. The politburo had earlier met on 18 May, two days after the results were announced, to make a “preliminary review" of the poll results and had decided to chart out the political-organizational steps that need to be taken in the central committee meeting. In the run up to the 2014 general elections, the CPM had attempted to cobble up the so-called Third Front comprising 11 regional parties to provide an alternative to the Congress and the BJP. However, all except the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in the Third Front performed poorly.