Not happy with poll performance, introspection will be done: Sitaram Yechury

In the recently concluded LS elections, the Left parties increased their numbers in Lok Sabha to eight, from five in the 17th Lok Sabha.


Published Jun 12, 2024 | 4:49 PM Updated Jun 12, 2024 | 4:49 PM

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By Anjali Ojha

The CPI(M) is not happy with its performance in the Lok Sabha polls despite a marginal increase in the number of seats and it will do a serious introspection on how to close the gap between its ability to launch struggles on the ground and its power to win seats, party leader Sitaram Yechury said.

In an interview with PTI, the CPI(M) general secretary said there is some disappointment in the party as, despite the Left organisations leading several mass struggles, its impact was not reflected in its electoral performance.

Asked about the BJP’s entry in Kerala, the only state ruled by Left parties at present, Yechury said the Left’s vote share is intact, but some of the votes of the Congress-led UDF shifted towards the saffron party.

Increased seats

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Left parties increased their numbers in Lok Sabha to eight, from five in the 17th Lok Sabha.

The CPI(M) won four seats, while the CPI(M) and CPI(Marxist-Leninist) Liberation won two each.

“The Left has increased its presence in Lok Sabha marginally, but we are not happy. In fact, we are a little disappointed that despite all the struggles that were led by the Left, we could not really capitalise it in terms of the electoral performance,” Yechury said.

“A serious introspection is required. We will undertake that and put in place the necessary corrections so that in the coming days, the mismatch between the left’s ability and determination to launch and sustain people’s struggles and its electoral performance is narrowed down,” he said.

He said the Politburo of the party has decided that the struggles around people’s livelihood issues will be intensified, like the farmers’ struggle, the struggle of youth for employment, the issues around the education system, and the recent concerns around the NEET examinations.

“These are the struggles that will take place both inside and outside of the Parliament,” he said.

The Left parties had given their worst performance in six decades in 2019, when the CPI(M) got 1.75 percent of vote share, while CPI got a little more than half a percent votes. This time, the vote share of the CPI(M) was around 1.76 percent, while the CPI got 0.50 percent vote share, and CPI(ML) Liberation got 0.27 percent votes according to data on the ECI website.

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‘Dent in UDF vote’

Asked about BJP’s Suresh Gopi winning the Thrissur seat in Kerala, where the CPI(M)-led LDF is in power, he said the BJP made a dent in the votes of the UDF.

“It was the UDF vote, mainly the Congress candidates’ vote which eroded, which shifted to the BJP,” Yechury said.

“Now, that is very concerning. If the Congress base is moving towards BJP, that is a matter of serious concern, not only for Kerala but for elsewhere in the country. So, I hope that is something that is arrested and contained for the sake of our country,” he said.

In the 2024 general election, the BJP got 16.68 percent votes in Kerala as per ECI data, while in 2019, they received around 12.9 percent votes.

The Congress’s vote share in 2019 was 37.45 percent, while in 2024 they got 35 percent votes in the state. The CPI(M) got 25.9 percent votes in 2019, and 25.82 percent votes in 2024.

The CPI also maintained a vote share of around six percent in both the 2019 and 2024 elections.

Of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, the BJP and the CPI(M) won one seat each, while the UDF made off with the remaining 18 seats, with Congress winning 14.

Political shift in Kerala: UDF dominates, BJP enters, LDF struggles

‘BJP’s communal polarisation failed’

According to Yechury, in the latest election, the attempts of the BJP to create a communal polarisation failed, and its losing the Faizabad seat in Ayodhya, where the Ram temple stands, is the biggest example.

“Of course, this polarisation has wreaked havoc on our society, on our people and the country … but despite the fact, the sitting BJP MP from Faizabad, where Ayodhya is located, lost the election … There is a clear indication that the temple which they were hoping would be their major achievement did not work,” he said.

“Likewise, Article 370 in Kashmir, saying that removal of that has integrated Kashmir into India … They lost in Kashmir. They couldn’t manage to win any seat in Kashmir,” he said.

“So, this agenda of theirs which they projected, that agenda has taken a beating… But that is primarily because of the attacks on the Constitution, and the attacks on people’s livelihoods,” Yechury said.

“Both these things combined to give that strength to the people to vote the way they voted,” he added.

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