Three hours after promising to revive the aborted industries at Singur and Nayachar if voted to power in West Bengal in 2016, the central leadership of the CPI(M) admitted behind closed doors that the organisation was suffering from mass alienation.
The promises were made to a huge crowd at the Brigade Parade Ground on Sunday, where the party virtually kicked off its election campaign. The admission was made barely four kilometres away, during a party plenum at its Kolkata district headquarters.
The subject of mass alienation was brought up in the draft organisational report placed before 443 plenum delegates by former party general secretary Prakash Karat.
Taking nearly two and a half hours, Karat read out the 12-page report which also stated in unequivocal terms that the central leadership was responsible for its failures and erosion in mass base across the country.
The contents of the organisational report are significant because only a few months are left for the assembly polls in West Bengal and Kerala, and the party is making every effort to reach out to voters. “It is a strongly worded piece of self-admission and self-criticism, to which few among us can recommend any amendments,” a delegate said on the condition of anonymity.
P Rajeev, a delegate from Kerala who took part in the discussion, virtually blasted the top leadership during the closed-door meet. “It’s pleasant to see a photograph of the nine members of the CPI(M)’s first Politburo in this hall,” Rajeev was quoted as saying, before he reportedly turned to the present leadership and added: “You were all probably in your 30s when they handed over the charge to you. But you never relinquished your positions. What stopped you from trusting the next generation?”
Samik Lahiri from West Bengal said the party had been weakened by a visible absence of democracy in its functioning. “We were supposed to function on the principle of democratic centralism, but when we were in power, it was only centralism that ruled us. We only followed orders issued from Alimuddin Street and AKG Bhawan (the party headquarters in Delhi)… though we were never allowed to take decisions, we were still blamed for failures.”
The party has admitted in the report that it started getting alienated from the masses the day its workers stopped raising funds for the party through small subscriptions collected from the public. A large section of party leaders even stopped visiting zonal and branch offices to oversee their functioning. Over the years, all this affected the image of Marxists, the report added.