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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightCommunist parties and...

Communist parties and the Congress

Communist parties and the Congress

It has been decades since divisions occurred within the Communist Party of India over the approach to be adopted towards the Indian National Congress which then led to a split with one faction siding with the Congress and the other regarding it as the chief rival. When the Congress government led by Jawaharlal Nehru sided with the Soviets, the official section of the Communist Party of India under the leadership of chairman SA Dange, cooperated with them. P Sundarayya, BT Ranadive, EMS Namboodiripad, AK Gopalan and Jyoti Basu strongly opposed this 'right-wing deviation', split the party and formed a new party called the Communist Party of India (Marxist) with anti-Congress politics which stood with China as divisions occurred in the world communist movement.

Although the CPIM seized control of West Bengal and Kerala, the most influential areas of the communist movement, and the CPI elsewhere, the fall of world communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the 1990s weakened communist parties through and through. In the ensuing national situation, both parties became part of the Left Front and shared power in Bengal and Kerala. And yet they also took different approaches on certain issues and problems. Even when the Left front supported the VP Singh government, the CPIM did not join the cabinet, standing firm on its ideology to end the monopoly of Congress governments. The CPI, however, did not miss the opportunity. Subsequent developments, however have proven that this anti-Congress approach has indirectly served to strengthen the BJP. The two Communist parties were part of the Congress-led UPA alliance that came to power in 2004 blocking the continuation of the Vajpayee-led NDA government. Both parties, who served as well-wishers and constructive critics of the first Manmohan Singh government, withdrew their support in 2008 in protest against the Indo-US nuclear deal. Although the UPA got another round, the series of protests during that period paved the ground for Narendra Modi's radical Hindutva government. That is to say, any battle calls to overthrow the Congress benefitted the saffron army.

Now that the party Congresses are about to take place, the CPI (M) and the CPI are once again at loggerheads over their approaches to the Congress. The difference from the past is that the Communist parties in Bengal had been almost completely rejected and Kerala is the sole state to hold on to. In Kerala, the Congress-led UDF is the main opponent in terms of power. Hence, there is no difference between the left/right communist parties on the approach to be adopted here. Member of Parliament and CPI leader Binoy Viswam's remarks that the Left does not have the capacity to bridge the gap if the Congress collapses at the national level has turned controversial. "In today's Indian politics, we, 'the Left', are aware of the emptiness that will arise if Congress collapses in the face of the challenge posed by the BJP and the RSS. Despite all the disputes in Kerala, I say that if the Congress collapses, the Left in India does not have not the ability to fill that void. The Sangh Parivar and its fascist ideologies are likely to fill that void. I think in order to avoid that, the Congress should try not to collapse remembering Nehru," said Binoy Viswam. The next day, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran extended full support to Viswam. However, CPIM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has expressed strong disagreement with this. The draft of the political resolution to be presented at the 23rd Party Congress of the CPIM states that the Congress will not be able to fight Hindutva communalism in the country. However, the party has no other clear alternative in mind.

Nothing can be achieved by repeating countless times the call to strengthen the Left Front. In Bengal, even an alliance with the Congress proved to be fruitless. There is no hope for the future if the Left Front in Kerala does not realize that the attempts to make the Congress completely irrelevant will ultimately benefit the BJP. The ruling party is forgetting that the CPIM's smear campaign tying together the Congress, the Muslim League and the Jamaat-e-Islami (which is nowhere on the political party equations) will ultimately benefit the Sangh Parivar - a fact the CPIM loses sight of while in the intoxication of power. And by the time it comes out of that state, matters might already be out of hand.

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TAGS:Communist party of India division Congress Kerala politics 
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