CPI(M) identifies erosion of base in states, resurgence of identity politics as concerns

It also observed that while the INDIA bloc gave a setback to the BJP in the general elections, the marginalisation of the Left continues.


Published Jul 06, 2024 | 4:58 PM Updated Jul 06, 2024 | 4:58 PM

CPI(M) says Lok Sabha poll result is setback for BJP.

Erosion of its base in states where it has a strong presence was a matter of concern, the CPI (M) said in a report, which identified the resurgence of identity politics and “years of repression and attacks on the party” to be among the reasons for its reduced strength.

The Central Committee, the highest decision-making body of the party, called for countering the adverse impact of identity politics with its class-based politics and by taking up social issues concerning oppressed groups.

The Central Committee report on the 18th Lok Sabha polls, adopted during a meeting held from 28- 30 June in New Delhi, also noted the loss of its traditional base in several constituencies to the BJP in Kerala.

“It is clear that the erosion of our mass base noted a long time ago continues. What is of concern is the erosion of our mass/electoral base in our strong states,” the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Central Committee observed.

They said the preliminary review conducted by the state committees of the parties confirms this erosion even as there is no assessment of how their primary supporters— working class, poor and middle peasants and agricultural labourers actually voted.

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The Central Committee noted in the report that in Kerala, the vote share of the BJP-led NDA has almost doubled over the last ten years— from 10.08 percent in 2014 to 19.2 percent in 2024, while the LDF vote share has declined from 40.2 percent in 2014 to 33.35 percent in 2024.

It, however, said that the main reason for the UDF’s (alliance led by Congress in Kerala) victory in the recently held Lok Sabha elections and the defeat of the LDF (alliance led by CPI (M) in Kerala) is that for a considerable section of the people, particularly the minorities, the aim of defeating the BJP at the Centre was seen as feasible only by the Congress, which is leading the INDIA bloc.

“This was the same trend witnessed in the 2019 election when Rahul Gandhi contested from the Wayanad constituency,” the Central Committee observed.

“A disturbing feature of the election results is the erosion of our traditional base in several constituencies to the BJP,” the report said.

While they said the main reason for the success of the BJP in Thrissur was the transference of votes from the Congress base and a section of Christians, it observed that some of the CPI(M)’s base has gone to the BJP in several places, such as Attingal and Alappuzha.

It also said that the Hindutva politics of the BJP-RSS has shown results, with caste and communal organisations playing a heightened role. The lack of enthusiasm among the youth in elections are also among the factors that worked against the party in Kerala, the report added.

West Bengal

In West Bengal, they observed that in several seats, the BJP lost because of the increased vote share of the CPI(M), but also noted that its organisation has grown weak in the state, which was reflected in the party not having any polling agents in 12-14 percent of the booths.

“There are many areas where there has been no party in existence for a long time. Without class-based movements and organisation, it will not be possible to re-establish our political influence and electoral base,” the Central Committee said about the party’s situation in West Bengal.

It also said that state government’s schemes like ‘Lakshmir Bhandar’ have received mass support for the TMC, especially among women, and the approach of party units and cadres attacking them as ‘bribes’ or ‘doles’ was an “erroneous approach”, which has alienated the poor from CPI(M).

The party units focussed less on fighting the BJP than the TMC during the campaign even though the party line called for a defeat of the TMC and the BJP, it said.

“This problem is persisting from the last assembly elections and steps should be taken to educate the cadres about the thrust of the political line of the party,” the report said.

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Resurgence of identity politics

The Central Committee further said that the resurgence of identity politics will weaken the CPI(M) and the Left.

“A cursory analysis of erosion of our voting base in strong states like Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura show the adverse impact of identity politics. In Tripura, the resurgence of tribal identity politics has contributed to the erosion of the strong tribal base of the communist movement,” they said.

Caste and ethnic identity politics resorted to by the TMC and the BJP have affected the base of CPI(M) in north Bengal and other parts of the state, while in Kerala, both caste and religious identity politics has affected their base, it said.

“Generally speaking, identity politics based on caste, community and religion has contributed to further eroding the party’s independent strength in other states too,” the report said.

“We have to find ways to counter such identity politics based on our class-based politics and combine it with our taking up social issues which concern the socially oppressed sections,” it said.

It also observed that while the INDIA bloc gave a setback to the BJP in the general elections, the marginalisation of the Left continues.

“While striving for broad opposition unity in defence of democracy, secularism and federalism, there should be renewed emphasis on Left unity and efforts to build a Left and democratic platform,” it said.

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