The CPI(M) is rattled by the BJP’s growing base in the last Left bastion.
As all political parties gear up for the big Lok Sabha election due mid-next year, there is one party that seems determined to do its worst. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), already facing severe crisis, is hurtling towards a new low.
The proof came this week through the party’s misguided move to flirt with Hindutva in Kerala by “backing” Ramayana month events.
While party leaders may want to sugarcoat the issue by claiming that they are merely “backing” Ramayana month events, organised by a group of scholars, to counter the RSS/BJP’s religious propaganda, the truth is that the CPI(M) is rattled by the BJP’s growing base in the last Left bastion.
However, its haphazard and poorly thought-out strategy is a reflection of precisely what the party has become now – directionless, out-of-sync, and ridden with hypocrisy.
This, however, isn’t the first time that the CPI(M) has attempted to use religion in Kerala. Over the past few years, the party has organised Janmashtami celebrations, as a way to counter the Sangh Parivar’s popular processions.
Electorally and politically, the CPI(M) is at its lowest, with an embarrassing nine seats in Lok Sabha (five of these are from Kerala), down from 43 in 2004. Its inability to adapt to the changed socio-political dynamics and understand the new-age Indian voter has brought the party to its knees. The incessant internal friction and the tendency among the leaders to waste time debating documents rather than focusing on realpolitik have also led to the CPI(M)’s downfall.
Both its general secretary Sitaram Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat – who have collectively headed the party for 13 years – have never fought an election, ever since their student days in JNU. Unfortunately for them, mass politics in the country is much beyond the little cocoon of JNU, a fact that the current CPI(M) leadership seems to have forgotten. The party repeatedly talks about ‘neo liberalism’, ‘globalisation’ and ‘capitalism’. The voter, however, is not even listening.
Besides being out of touch with external electoral reality, the CPI(M) is stuck in time internally as well. Earlier this year, the party wasted months fighting over a piece of document – its political resolution – that talks about whether the doors should be left open for a political “understanding” with the Congress. In between all this, the CPI(M) lost its grip on Tripura.
The political resolution of the party determines its course for the next three years, till the Party Congress – the top decision-making body – meets again. While purists would say the document is sacrosanct and critical to the party, the point is why any party should have a piece of document that sets in stone its political course for three long years at a time when flexibility and freedom to adapt to circumstances are crucial.
Forget about expanding the party’s base, or even reviving it in regions where it was once a force, the party’s leaders seem to have no clear strategy to retain the little they still have. The leadership comes across as complacent and arrogant, and likes to believe that theirs is the only party with an ideology and virtues while looking down upon all others. This is where the CPI(M)’s hypocrisy comes in.
It wants to lecture on democracy and how ‘fascist forces’ are undermining it, but remains one of the worst examples of intra-party democracy – scuttling less powerful voices within and running competing fiefdoms under the powerful. Fall in line, or find your way out, is its mantra. It wants to talk about the marginalised sections – women, minorities and Dalits – and how they are neglected, but has no Dalit and just two women and two Muslims in its politburo, the party’s most crucial decision-making body. It talks about fair wages, but in Tripura, where it was in power for more than two decades, government employees were being paid as per the Fourth Pay Commission, even as the rest of the country had moved on to the Seventh Pay Commission.
The Kerala episode is yet another example of how out-of-touch its leadership is. It failed to realise that there is no way it can beat the BJP in its own game, and now faces the obvious risk of alienating even its own vote-bank in the process.
Or perhaps, with its fortunes dwindling, the seemingly atheist CPI(M) is now turning to god.
Note: While the CPI(M) has denied that the party or its government is officially observing the Ramayana month in Kerala, its leaders admitted to ThePrint that the party is indeed ‘backing’ a group of Sanskrit scholars who are doing so.
Read here: Atheist CPI(M) to ‘back’ Ramayana month events in Kerala
This report is misleading. The fact of the matter is: a number of left-leaning Sanskrit scholars, not CPM, are organising a campaign to spread awareness of the historical and cultural significance of Ramayana and to counter the sangh parivar’s attempt to misuse Ramayana for its divisive agenda. It is not a religious congregation or bhajana mandali.
The CPM is walking the same line as Congress did with Shahbanu and Ramjanmabhumi affair of Rajiv Gandhi days. Instead of catering to Hindu sentiments, they should face the 800-pound Gorilla in the room: The sexually biased Muslim personal law. Acting as if there is no minority communalism is not going to help any secular party. Unfortunately, all secular parties, sooner or later chose to take that line.
How a CPI (M) a party which always claims secularisom as its principle can carry out an event rlated to Ram who is the god of Hindus ?Is it not a hepocracy ?
This is what is known as fake news or qualify to be one. The Marxists r traditionally a pro Muslim fundamentalist supporting party for garnering votes. They look the other way to their anti national activities, but r quick to put hurdles on every hindu religious activities.
CPM is the only party in India which has inner party democracy . Regarding that “useless paper on which CPM has wasted time I like.to say that is the sign of inner party democracy, holier than cow to the communists. I do not know what result will come in the coming election but be sure Communists will come to power every where. Concept of Ram Rajya is more than few thousand year old. The concept has not been successful til date. Capital of Marx is only 170 years old. People have given Ram, Buddha, Mahammad, Shankaracharya enough time. Let us give a fair chance to Marx this time.
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