The 23rd CPI (M) party Congress concluded in Kannur, Kerala, drawing a road map to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party by mobilising democratic and secular forces without any truck with the congress party is nothing but old wine in new bottle.
The 22nd Party Congress in 2018 had taken the same political resolution of having no truck with the Congress. Sitaram Yechury, elected for the third term as General Secretary of the party, who is a strong proponent for a tie up with the Congress had to surrender to the Kerala CPI (M). The political resolution toes the line of the Kerala Leaders who are against any tie up with the national party.
EXISTENCE WORRIED AND CONGRESS FOLD
The political resolution may at least boost the party cadres especially in Kerala but the reality is far from this. The question faced by the Party is how to fight the BJP by mobilising democratic and secular forces without the Congress in the fold. One should note that the relevance of the CPI (M) has declined for the last many years and its extinction is itself in question. The party virtually exists only in Kerala, which remains its strong fold. In reality, the party faces extinction.
This is quite reflected in the organisational report placed before the Party congress. It said that the “party is having the most challenging situation since its formation and there has been erosion in our mass base and influence”. It said that there was a general decline in the party all over the country, except in Kerala.
Finding it hard to keep the cadres on hold and also to survive the times, the CPI (M) is for a coalition at the national level without the Congress, which is still holding more states in its fold. The Congress that has more vote share and followers still has an upper hand over the CPI (M). Moreover, the CPI (M) is part of the alliance in some states, particularly Tamil Nadu, where Congress is also an ally. Still, the CPI (M) does not want a National tie up with the Congress.
BETTER TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE STATISTICS
In West Bengal, which the CPM and its left allies ruled for 34 years until 2011, the party is reduced to nothing. It has no MLAs in the present Assembly and no MPs in Lok Sabha. In Rajya Sabha, it has only one member. In Tripura, which it ruled for a decade from 1978 to 1988 and then for a quarter century from 1993 to 2018, the CPM is struggling to retain lost political ground.
In terms of MPs in the present Lok Sabha, the CPI (M) has just three MPs – one from Kerala and two from Tamil Nadu, In Tamil Nadu, the two was got based on an alliance with the DMK. In Rajya Sabha, it has five members – one from West Bengal and four from Kerala.
When talking of membership, Kerala only shows an increase. The CPM in West Bengal that had 2.08 lakh members in 2017 now has 1.60 lakh in 2021. In Tripura, the party’s membership in 2021 was 50,612, down from 97.990 in 2017. In most other states, the party’s membership has remained stagnant. Kerala has raised its membership from 4.63 lakh in 2017 to 5.27 lakh in 2021.
STILL SHOWING A BOLD FACE
Despite facing an extinction crisis, the CPI (M) leaders show a bold face and have high statements to make. Sitaram Yechury said that the Congress and the regional parties must set their houses in order and decide where they stand to safeguard the secular, democratic character of the Indian Republic. He also appealed to all Left, secular democratic forces to come together in order to isolate and defeat BJP and asserted that that all political parties that proclaim secularism must rise to the occasion to discharge this “patriotic duty”.
OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLE
In the last four years after the 22nd part congress, no major change has come in the thoughts of the CPI (M). As in 2022, the party in 2018 had resolved to defeat the BJP and its allies by rallying all the secular and democratic forces, without any political alliance with the Congress party,
Keeping the Congress at arm’s length, the CPI (M) may be giving a fillip to the party in Kerala. But the reality is how the CPI (M) is going to garner the strength to bring together the secular democratic forces to isolate and defeat BJP, without the Congress.
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