The CPI (M) has three major allied organisations: the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the Students Federation of India and the All India Kisan Sabha. It has been the largest single party and the leader of the ruling Left Front in the West Bengal Assembly since 1977. It won the elections to the W. Bengal Assembly in 2006 again, defeating the Congress (I) and Trinamul alliance. It is also ruling Tripura. It is now likely to face a severe challenge from both the Congress and TMC. The Leftist are opposed to the liberalisation and globalisation of the Indian economy. They fear that the MNCs will acquire increasing influence on the Indian economic scene, thereby negating self-reliance.
In 1994, the Leftists opposed the GATT, and also the entry of multinationals in India. The Leftists are also opposed to disinvestment of the oil sector. They greeted the Supreme Court Judgement disallowing disinvestment in Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum without approval of the Parliament in Sept.
03. Over 30 years in power in West Bengal and in and out of power in Kerala, the CPI(M) does not inspire visions of a revolution, even to its diehard cadre. Its leaders speak frequently against liberalisation but nobody really believes that the party’s stand over the issue is any different from the economic consensus that the other mainstream parties appear to have struck. The old warhorse Jyoti Basu finally retired after an uninterrupted innings of 22 years in power. The mantle was handed over to his deputy Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in late 2000. The CPI (M) retained W.
Bengal under the leadership of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in the March 2006 elections. The Singur and Nandigram have been the two blots on the CPI(M) govt, in W. Bengal. The Marxist goons practically occupied the hamlets and the village of Nandigram and not only intimidating and killing the cadres of Congress and the Trinamul, but also did not allow the CRP and the CBI to perform their duties. The contentious acquisition of prime farmland for the Tata project in Singur was vehemently opposed by farmers and other political parties. There was a coalescence of Trinamul, Jamiat Ulema-a-Hind (JUH) and unattached dissenters like Medha Patkar and Mahasweta Devi. At Nandigram the scarce resource emerged again, as the farmland this time was to be acquired from farmers for a chemical complex to be developed by an Indonesian firm.
The opposition this time was concerted, the nascent coalition of Singur bloomed into a full-fledged phalanx, the Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee. CPM has also witnessed a roller coaster phenomenon since the 15th Lok Sabha elections. The mighty party which held unquestionable sway in West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala now lies in a shambles. Its top leadership has been reduced to ignominy no longer can it hold on to power in West Bengal. In the 15th Lok Sabha elections, the CPI (M) had to bite dust in West Bengal and the Leftists were reduced to less than half of their earlier strength. The single woman party, Trinamool Congress Mamta Banerjee rebuilt her political career and dealt a death-blow to the iconic image of CPI (M).
She won 18 seats in West Bengal and derived considerable political clout by becoming a c;oalition partner of the United Progress Alliance (UPA). The Marxists must be ruing the loss of opportunities, when they could have pressed with all the resources at their disposal to let Jyoti Basu become Prime Minister in 1996. The CPI (M) was a coalition partner of the Congress at the Centre from 2004-2008, but prevented many liberal economic policies from being framed and announced. Prakash Karat, his wife, Birnda Karat, along with the entire Politbureau Members of the CPM should have acted concurrently cutting across all objections and obstacles raised and put up by the party’s rank and file with the object of catapulting the CPM Patriarch, Jyoti Basu into the PM’s position, so as to empower him to play a creative role at the national level.
The need of the hour is that economy should open up and restrictions abandoned for worldwide integration. CPI(M) parted with the Congress in 2008 when the latter insisted on signing 123 Agreement with the United States. C.P.I.(M) was in for a further rude shock when in Sept 2009, the party came crashing down in Siliguri municipal elections; West Bengal’s third largest civic body slid into the opposition party of the 4o wards, the Congress TMC bagged 29, whereas the left front retain only 17.