The rumblings within the Left are getting louder.
An unhappy Communist Party of India (CPI) has hit out at the CPM-led Left Front governments “for acting unilaterally” and their “bossism”, in one of its strongest criticism of the principal Left party.
At the end of its two-day national council, the CPI’s highest political forum, party chief A.B. Bardhan (84) said on Tuesday: “Without blaming any one individual, the Left Front governments in both Kerala and West Bengal did not function properly. There was unilateral ruling and bossism among those in authority in the Left Front governments.”
Bardhan, at his outspoken best, said the approach of Left leaders towards the people were not “communist”.
The CPI, the country's second oldest party founded in 1925, is facing the risk of losing its status as a national party after its disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha elections.
The CPI, which contested 57 seats in 23 states, won only four seats. The party lost all three seats in Kerala, where it had won the last time.
The party had won 10 of the 34 seats it contested in 2004, with a vote share of 1.4 per cent.
Dropping a strong hint of displeasure with the principal Left ally for playing political hardball, Bardhan said: “Whosoever is the largest party is responsible for functioning of the Left Front.”
Earlier, at the end of its national executive, Bardhan had spoken out against the CPM. “It (the national executive) emphasises the need for humility and total absence of arrogance in the behaviour and attitude of all Left leaders and activists in relation to people,” he had said.
This veiled attack on the CPM, often dubbed the Left Big Brother and whose political line the CPI usually toes, is the strongest echo yet of sub-terrain differences of opinion.
The CPI chief also said the withdrawal of support to the previous UPA government should not have been on the issue of the nuke deal alone but on issues that affected people more directly.
Clearly, the party feels a bullish CPM recklessly forced its way into the elections, turning the Congress, a natural ally, into a sworn enemy. The CPI views this strident political line as the reason for the electoral rout. Future relations with the CPM had to be based on “equality, mutual respect and collective decision”.
The CPI has questioned the “conduct” of the CPM-led governments in West Bengal and Kerala. In Bengal’s Nandigram, a farmer uprising against land acquisition was brutally crushed with bullets. “This could have been handled differently. The Left paid a price for this,” the CPI source said.