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CPM’s top leadership takes blame for poll debacle

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-06-2014 Anuja

New Delhi: In a break from tradition, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, has put the blame for its poor performance in Lok Sabha elections on the party’s politburo and central leadership.

Only nine CPM candidates managed to win in the recent Lok Sabha elections, a sharp fall from its record score of 44 members in 2004 and 16 in 2009. The party’s vote share has shrunk to 3.2%, compared with 5.33% in 2009.

A day after the party completed its three-day election review, general secretary Prakash Karat said India’s largest Left party would review the political line adopted by its previous party congress and revamp the organization.

“We had an in-depth discussion and critical assessment of the poor performance of our party. The politburo and the central leadership have taken full responsibility for the failure to expand the party and the decline in our mass base. This has been reflected in the election results too,” Karat told reporters on Monday.

A two-day meeting of the central committee—CPM’s top decision making body—was preceded by a meeting of the politburo which ended on Sunday, where the party’s top leadership admitted the party’s “failure to expand the independent strength and arrest the decline in the mass base”.

Karat added the party would conduct a study on the effects of liberalization in the country over the last two decades, to arrive at “correct slogans and political line”.

“The Central Committee decided to review the political line and the organizational functioning in order to take corrective measures. The party will go to the people, forge close links with the masses and will ceaselessly conduct struggles and movements to defend the livelihood interests of the people, secularism and democratic rights,” a CPM statement said.

Karat said that according to the party’s preliminary reports, the primary reasons for the drubbing it received in West Bengal were rigging, violence and intimidation.

“We have also not been able to recover the political ground…we had underestimated the impact of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s campaign in West Bengal. A section of our votes went to the BJP,” he said.

Karat also said none of the politburo members offered to resign in the just concluded meeting. “In our party, nobody offers to resign or resigns and withdraws resignations in the evening like we see these days,” he said.

The party is planning to hold its next central committee meeting in August and the next party congress in 2015.

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