How the LS polls seal Left’s fate in India?

Sitaram Yechury
Sitaram Yechury.

New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has been handed over its worst defeat in the history of Lok Sabha polls.

There will not be any CPM representatives from Tripura and West Bengal in the Lok Sabha. They escaped humiliation by managing to win just one seat in Kerala, which is ruled by the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

Even Tamil Nadu got better results than Kerala, by securing two seats for the Left. However, more than the Left, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Congress and the Muslim League can claim their role for wining these two seats.

Why 'Left' out

The national leadership is of the opinion that the anti-BJP/Modi sentiments favoured the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the fallout over the Sabarimala women's entry cost the party dearly in Kerala.

Who has the upper hand

Last year a controversy was triggered over a purported remark by CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury that CPM does not mean Communist Party of Kerala (Marxist). Though it is still not known whether Yechury actually made those remarks, the debate over which faction has upper hand in the party continues.

Yechury faction’s idea to take a pro-Congress approach in the LS polls had got the backing in the party Congress. That and Sitaram Yechury becoming the general secretary had given the upper hand to the Yechury faction. Still Pinarayi faction refused to back down as he was still ruling a southern state.

However, the pro-Congress stand was not implemented in Bengal and the party was handed its worst defeat in Kerala, dealing severe blows to both the factions. So the question is not having upper hand but on lagging behind?

Yechury faction can argue that the victory in Tamil Nadu was facilitated due to its pro-Congress stand.

Tripura debacle

The Yechury-Prakash Karat factions were of the opinion that the Congress was not capable of taking on the BJP in Tripura and that anti-Modi votes can be gained without the national party’s support.

However, in the Lok Sabha polls declared on Thursday, the BJP emerged on top, followed by Congress with the CPM finishing third.

Questions are also being raised on why Pinarayi Vijayan, the only left leader in Chief Minister's chair, did not campaign in West Bengal? The reason given is a foreign trip, which was taken up long after the election dates were declared.

The long list of defeats…

CPI star candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, the young face spearheading the anti-Modi campaign, could not even get half of the votes garnered by the BJP candidate in Bihar’s Begusarai.

CPI national secretary Pallab Sengupta could not even get five per cent of votes and ended up fourth in Basirhat in West Bengal.

CPM's state secretary in Rajasthan Amra Ram was able to gain around 2.5 per cent of the votes in Sikar. The BJP won the seat, while Congress came second.

In Odisha's Bhubaneswar, central committee member Janardhan Pati contested with the backing of the Congress. He was only able to get 2.5 per cent of votes, while BJP and BJD finished first and second.

The CPM were hoping that sitting CPM MP Mohammed Salim would win the Raiganj seat in West Bengal. But the politburo member ended up fourth, behind the BJP and the Trinamool Congress candidates. Another sitting CPM MP Badaruddoza Khan also finished fourth in Murshidabad. The party had expected a close fight in Jadavpur but Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya came third.

The CPM admits that the Left votes were split by the BJP and Trinamool in Bengal, while the CPI blames the Congress and the RJD for spoiling the chances in Bihar.