Vol. XLIII No. 24 June 16, 2019

Go to the people

A DISTURBING feature of the CPI(M)’s performance to the 17th Lok Sabha election is the continuing fall in the overall voting percentage of the Party. This is mainly due to the sharp drop in the vote share of the Party in West Bengal and Tripura and to a lesser extent in Kerala.

We must take into account the fact that the loss of vote share in Tripura and West Bengal was also due to the violence and terror directed at the CPI(M) and its organisation and because of rigging and the prevention of its supporters from  voting in many places. In West Bengal, these attacks have lasted eight years and cost the lives of 209 Party members and supporters. However, there was a political trend of sections of its voters moving away from the Party in both these states.

The preliminary review conducted by the Central Committee in its meeting held on June 7-9, also shows that there is an erosion of support among the basic classes. In many industrial centres around the country, the working class has voted for the BJP. In areas, where the Left wielded influence amongst workers there has been a reduction of that influence, with some exceptions like Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

It is therefore essential, that the Party goes to the people in a big way. The Central Committee, amongst the tasks set out, called for the Party leaders and cadres to meet the people who have moved away from us in the election and listen to their views. This must be the start of the process of winning back their confidence. Special attention must be paid to meet workers, poor peasants and agricultural labourers and their families. Going to the people in areas affected by violence in West Bengal and Tripura will itself be a way of re-establishing links with the people, which in turn is the first step towards reviving the Party organisation.

The Party leadership and cadres must approach this task with all seriousness and humility; it will serve to advance the self-critical process of identifying mistakes and weaknesses that need to be corrected and overcome.

The Central Committee decision to review the Kolkata plenum decisions within a certain time frame will further aid the process of rectifying the shortcomings. The Kolkata plenum had stressed the need for a mass line and the steps to be taken to strengthen the mass base. The plenum had dealt not just with organisational matters but it had set out certain important political-organisational tasks. For instance, it had also spelt out the political-ideological work required to combat the Hindutva ideology and activities.

The reasons given for the lack of implementation or review of the work done on the plenum directions has commonly been the preoccupation with some election or the other, at various levels in the past three years. However, as the 21st and 22nd Congresses have pointed out, the BJP-RSS forces cannot be countered and defeated only in the electoral field. That is why the implementation of the tasks set out in the plenum brooks no delay.

The entire Party has to get down to go amongst the people, learn from them and take up the struggles against Hindutva communalism, the neoliberal push and the authoritarian attacks on democracy with renewed vigour and determination.

(June 12, 2019)