Need urgent self-correction, feels CPM in Kerala

Silencing criticism will only lead to self-destruction, felt CPM state secretary M V Govindan.
CPM flag used for representation
CPM flag used for representation (Photo | Express)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Having suffered a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, the CPM leadership has finally acknowledged the urgent need for critical introspection and drastic course correction. At the party secretariat meeting on Friday, leaders were unanimous in pointing out the need to identify lapses, right from candidate selection to vote erosion.

Silencing criticism will only lead to self-destruction, felt CPM state secretary M V Govindan. “If a change cannot be brought in now in the way the committees function, the party will not last long,” Govindan reportedly said at the party’s preliminary election review meeting.

There was severe criticism of how differences of opinion are being suppressed. “If anyone criticises a position or policy, she or he is silenced, with disciplinary action. If the state secretariat continues to function in this manner, there is bound to be a huge backlash,” he added.

Presenting the preliminary review report, Govindan said it is still not late for the party to undertake corrective measures.

“If the party organisation and machinery go forward unitedly, we shall be able to retain the legacy,” Govindan said. 

Party’s take

CPM state secretary M V Govindan felt that silencing criticism will only lead to self-destruction. The CPM leadership also felt that stifling differences of opinion would prove harmful for the party.

CPM secretariat asks the panel to submit detailed review report

Sources said the party felt anti-Left sentiment among voters against the government and a few leaders. The last-minute E P Jayarajan-BJP row and corruption charges against the firm of chief minister’s daughter led to a major credibility erosion, pointed out another senior leader.

“The government’s financial crisis and pension delays also contributed to resentment among a cadre section. However, the reluctance to come out clean on the corruption charges against the CM’s daughter led to major damage. Similarly, the public accusation linking LDF convener E P Jayarajan with BJP leaders too affected the party’s credibility. The unfortunate fact is that the party’s vote base has eroded. These votes have gone to the BJP, and not to the Congress. This should be viewed seriously,” a senior leader told TNIE.

The party report, however, reiterated that “the CPM did not lose its vote base, even in the face of the severe setback in the LS election. The 35% vote base is still intact with the CPM. The party can recapture the lost base in the coming local self-government elections, thereby sending a positive message to its cadre and supporters of making electoral gains in future,” the report said.

CPM flag used for representation
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There was also criticism that the party has lost connection with the masses. Many leaders felt that the CPM cadre votes had gone to the Congress and the BJP, something the party never faced before. Some leaders even pointed out that it was the Congress votes that went to the BJP in the past. However, the advances made by BJP candidates in the CPM strongholds show that the party’s cadre votes have gone to the BJP, with quite a few party workers even abstaining from voting.

Govindan, however, was hopeful of recapturing the votes that had leaked to the Congress. “As for the votes that went to the BJP, it is a difficult task to recapture these votes because the BJP has been working for years through temples and community organisations like NSS to attract these votes. They had achieved it after years of hard work. But if all party leaders pitch in, this too can be achieved,” he said. The secretariat also asked the mandalam and district committees to submit a detailed review report, before the next leadership meeting.

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