CPI-M slips to eighth place in new Lok Sabha
From being the third largest party in the outgoing Lok Sabha, the poor showing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in the general elections has seen it slipping five places to lie eighth in the newly elected house - below even regional parties like the Trinamool Congress, the DMK and the Janata Dal-United.india Updated: May 17, 2009 20:46 IST
From being the third largest party in the outgoing Lok Sabha, the poor showing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in the general elections has seen it slipping five places to lie eighth in the newly elected house - below even regional parties like the Trinamool Congress, the DMK and the Janata Dal-United.
Huge electoral setbacks in the CPI-M bastions of West Bengal and Kerala have left the party with a mere 16 seats in the new Lok Sabha, down from the 43 it won in 2004.
The party finished with three seats less than the Trinamool Congress, its arch rival in West Bengal, in the 2009 polls.
"It is pathetic," said a CPI-M leader who is a former MP.
"It is the worst performance of the party in its history. A correction is needed urgently," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The CPI-M and its Left allies were mauled in Kerala and West Bengal. The losers included stalwarts like Mohammad Salim and Hanan Mollah.
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, whom the CPI-M has expelled, wants party general secretary Prakash Karat to step down owning responsibility for the party's dismal show in the elections.
"I can't advise him (Karat) because I am no longer in the party, but if his conscience permits, he should consider (resigning)," said Chatterjee, one of India's most experienced parliamentarians.
He was expelled from the CPI-M after he refused to heed the party diktat to step down as speaker ahead of the July 2008 trust vote in the Lok Sabha that was prompted by the Left parties withdrawing support to the government over the India-US nuclear deal.
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are in the first and second positions in the newly-elected Lok Sabha with 206 and 116 seats respectively in the 545 member house.
With 23 seats, the Samajwadi Party is in third position, one up from that in the outgoing house, in which it had 36 seats.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party is at fourth place with 21 seats. The Janata Dal-United, with 20 seats, is in the fifth position.
Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, which stormed the Communist citadel of West Bengal is in sixth place with 19 seats and the DMK is in the seventh position with 18 seats.