Can you think of an Indian being punished in
The Communists have been active in
Yet, in eight decades what has happened to the movement? It has managed to consolidate in a few isolated locations and even that position appears to be rather shaky now. Their vote share in the National elections is about 5 or 6%.
What brought about this situation? The Comrades failed to identify who ‘the people’ are and what problems they face. A fraction of organized workers do not represent the people of
One hoped that with the battering they took in the recent Parliament elections the Comrades, particularly the CPI (M), would objectively analyze the causes and take corrective steps. All their recent policies, starting with scuttling the proposal to make Jyothi Basu the Prime Minister, to the much touted Third Front and election strategies turned out to be fiascoes.
Further, in the recent months the major asset the Communists had – the conviction that they would always fight corruption and communalism – was unnecessarily compromised. A different approach and choice words, particularly in the Lavelin case which was committed to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the Kerala High Court, would have given the Party much more credibility.
I have personally known, and in several cases genuinely respected some of the Communist leaders of yesteryears, including EMS Namboodiripad. For me it is sad to see the chaos created by the Party’s present bosses.
Instead of tackling the real problems facing the Party, the CPI (M) has reduced them to the struggle between VS Achudanandan (VS), Chief Minister of Kerala, and the State’s Party Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. Disciplinary action has been taken against VS by demoting him from the Polit Bureau (PB). But he is allowed to continue as Chief Minister. The Party Secretary goes unscathed.
Does any one really believe that this solution would effectively solve the problems of the Party? In this process, have the Marxists lost or forgotten or buried the national perspective?
The action presents a strange juxtaposition. VS would be chairing the meetings of the Council of Ministers but he would be outranked by the Home Minister who is a Member of the PB. Who will have the final word in explaining the policies of the government to the people? The Chief Minister or the Home Minister?
A brief note on VS: I have personally suffered as a result of his ‘vettinirathal’ (scorched earth) policy in the 1990s, which saw party activists destroying agricultural crops on reclaimed lands though I have not done any reclamation. But one has to admit that, even at the age of 86, he is a fighter. He may lack finesse, but he is an icon for the party cadre. His fights against corruption have projected him as a hero.
VS was carrying the Red Flag and fighting for the Communist cause before some of the kings and kingmakers of the Party today were born. He was a victim of severe police brutality. It is said that once the authorities were about to bury him, thinking he was dead from the torture inflicted on him. He is one of the few surviving leaders from among those who formed the CPI (M) in 1964.
In 1962, during the Chinese War, VS was jailed along with other Left leaders. While in prison he donated blood for the war effort. That was against the then Party policy and, as punishment, he was demoted from the Central Committee.
Strange are the ways of some political parties.