CPI (M) plans outreach to regain lost ground in Kerala

Kerala’s ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M) has asked its cadres to begin a mass contact programme later this month to reach out to the common man as part of its efforts to regain its lost ground in the state, according to people aware of the matter.

After a three-day brain-storming in New Delhi on July 4, the CPI (M)’s Central Committee concluded that the disconnect of its cadres with the party’s supporters like youths, working class, and minority had done the damage, they added.

The panel found the anger over the implementation of the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing women of all ages to pray at the Sabarimala Temple was another factor for the party’s drubbing, according to the people cited above.

The CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front managed to win just one out of Kerala’s 20 seats in the April-May national polls. Kerala is the party’s last bastion in the country after its loss of power in West Bengal and Tripura. The Congress and its allies won the remaining 19 seats in Kerala. The CPI (M) has asked its cadres to participate in social and humanitarian activities to win back the lost ground, the people said.

MA Baby, a member of CPI (M)’s highest decision-making body or politburo, admitted that there has been a decline in the Communist values. “From Politburo members to area committees, we have to correct ourselves. We will go to the people and ask them to correct us. We will not speak much and let people talk. We have to win their hearts again,” said Baby. He added the mass contact programme would be held from July 22 to July 28.

Baby said the party’s assessment about the prevailing mood was terribly wrong and efforts will be made to correct it. He added that right-wing forces have been gaining ground globally and the trend has also influenced India. Baby called Kerala “the cradle of secularism” and added the Left will remain a key player in the state. He added they have suffered more because of the political violence in the state. “But the right-wing forces and a section of media always blame us. We have taken strict action against erring cadres and warned them not to indulge in any sort of violence. It has started reflecting on the ground,” said Baby.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s general secretary K Surendran questioned the CPI (M)’s sincerity. “The CPI (M)’s ideological gurus will say many things. But it is a fact that muscle power is still the party’s guiding force,” said Surendran.

Congress leader K Muraleedharan asked the CPI (M) to dump its “double standards”. He said CPI (M) considers the Congress its biggest enemy in Kerala unlike in West Bengal, where it seeks to work with the party.

Political analyst CP John said the Left is still caught in mundane rhetoric and has nothing new to offer. “It has to negotiate the complex realities of India rather than blindly following its erstwhile comrades. It got many opportunities but it failed to grab them,” said John.

He said the Left will remain a force in Kerala unlike in West Bengal thanks to the organisations and institutions like super specialty hospitals it has built.

First Published:
Jul 07, 2019 23:45 IST

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