Still reeling from its worst-ever electoral performance and with its stronghold of West Bengal looking set to fall, the CPI(M) has come out with an internal document on what it needs to do to set things right.
Among them: Fixing the “male chauvinist outlook” in the party, and ensuring party leaders refrain from participating in religious ceremonies.
“There is increasing awareness about women’s issues. But the male chauvinist outlook remains,” the document says. “Party leaders and workers are not encouraging the participation of women family members in political activities. There is a reluctance to assign women cadre responsibility.”
Though it has been pitching for 33 per cent seats in Parliament for women, the CPM doesn’t have many women leaders. Its 15-member politburo has only one woman, Brinda Karat, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP. Of its 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha, Susmita Bauri is the only woman.
The CPM is also troubled by its leaders taking part in religious functions like Durga puja. There should be “no show of organised religious ceremonies”, it has decreed.
Leaders will also need to curb their materialism. “In the early days, members of leading committees sought the permission of the party to construct homes, acquire cars and other assets. We should restore this practice”, the document says.