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Leaders steer Left into internal crisis

india Updated: Jul 06, 2009 01:32 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times
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The Left still hasn't come to terms with its worst-ever performance in the Lok Sabha elections. From 61 seats in 2004, its strongest showing, the Left Front's tally fell to 25 in 2009 - which is its worst.

The ripples of the humiliation in the general elections are still being felt and the once disciplined unit seems to be heading towards an internal crisis.

The largest Left party — the CPI(M) — has been decisively rejected in its strongholds of West Bengal and Kerala and the party’s post-poll introspection has turned into a bitter internal feud. The party appears to be resigned to the fact that it will lose power the 2011 assembly polls in both the states.

While the Bengal unit and the central leadership are blaming each other, situation in Kerala is worse.

The first casualty of the election debacle could be the Kerala chief minister and party veteran, the 85-year-old V.S. Achuthanandan.

The two-day politburo meeting which concluded on Sunday was specifically called to discuss the Kerala situation.

It has been given to understand that the majority of politburo members favour some action against the Kerala CM. His fault: he spoke out against the party’s stand to defend Kerala CPI(M) chief and his bitter rival, Pinarayi Vijayan, who is facing prosecution in a Rs 375 crore scam.

The anti-Achuthanandan sentiment can be clearly gauged from the party's review report on the elections which states: “Some of the statements of comrade V.S. Achuthanandan during the election campaign had an adverse effect and helped the opposition campaign.”

Meanwhile in Bengal, things have gone from bad to worse. Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, which drubbed the CPI(M) in the general elections in Bengal, wiped out the party in the municipal elections last week. The Trinamool's rise in Bengal is likely to continue and the 2011 assembly elections are going to be an acid test.

The party’s Bengal unit, which had forgotten what a defeat is during its uninterrupted rule since 1977, has squarely blamed the central leadership, which in turn has been quick to point out the local factors that led to the defeat.

The smaller Left partners — the CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc — are blaming the “arrogance of big brother CPI(M).”

CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, who till a year ago, was one a prominent face on newspapers and news channels, is ducking for cover.

The Central Committee members are unhappy with the panel’s directionless role. Said a Central Committee member: “It is the leadership's job to provide a political line for the party. There is none at the moment."