Facing terminal decline and a big challenge to bounce back electorally, members of Communist Party of India (Marxist) inaugurated their 21st National Congress in Vishakhapatnam on Tuesday. The party and its office-bearers are expected to discuss the present political situation and strategies for regaining the lost ground.
Addressing the meet, CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat called for widening and strengthening the left unity to counter the right-wing offensive. “At the present juncture it is absolutely vital to build and expand independent strength of CPI-M and the Left. We have to overcome the reverses suffered by CPI-M and the Left in recent period particularly in West Bengal,” he said.
Taking on PM Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre he added “we have witnessed the unfolding of right wing offensive in the country which spans the economic political social and cultural spheres”.
The party also targeted Central government for watering down various pro-poor legislations like the Land Acquisition Bill and the devising of policies to suit the interest of corporate sector.
The leader of the party exuded a confidence that the party will find a way to rise amid present challenging circumstances.
India’s largest of the left parties, CPI(M) has been a prime force in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura politics. But the party’s position has been under constant challenge after a debacle in 2009 General Elections where it lost 35 of the 59 seats it had held.
But the biggest jolt was 2011 Assembly elections in West Bengal where Left front’s 34 years old rule was swept away by Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC). The Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance had won 226 seats out of the 294 member assembly. The combined left front was relegated to 62 seats, with CPI(M) folding up inside just 40 seats.
In the same year CPI(M) and the Left front lost another of his stronghold Kerala to the Congress party.
The results of 2014 General elections brought in another massive set back as the Left front could only manage to bag just 10 seats. The series of results has certainly thrown the party leadership to confront questions on their future course.
Over the next five days, the party workers will brainstorm the reasons for the loss of ground and the way forward. Emphasis may be given to reach out to the youth and especially in the use of new modes of campaigning and communications. Also, with the term of incumbent Prakash Karat coming to an end, the party is expected to elect its new General Secretary, its top leader. Changes are also expected to take place in the Politbureau, it’s top decision making body, too.
The party’s organisational elections will be held on the last day of the conference on April 19.
CPI, CPI(Marxist-Leninist), Revolutionary Socialist Party and All India Forward Bloc too participated in the first day of the party congress initiating a brainstorming for the future course.