NEWS LEFT YECHURY
NEW DELHI: The Left has been wiped out, literally, in this Lok Sabha polls from what were its three traditional bastions –West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala. While the rout was complete in West Bengal and Tripura, the CPIM won one seat in Kerala, namely Alappuzha, out of the total 20 seats from the state this time.
The party was set to win two seats from Tamil Nadu this time, from Coimbatore and Madurai — industrial hubs in the state with strong concentration of resident Keralites.
Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury took responsibility for the worst-ever show by the party in a parliamentary polls. He told the media here that it was time for the communists to introspect on what went wrong. “We are holding a politburo meeting on May 26 and 27 and a central committee meeting from June 7 to 9,” he said, adding, “there will be accountability.” It was Yechury who was in charge of the West Bengal unit of the party in the years that led to the 2011 defeat after the party remained in power for 34 years at a stretch in West Bengal.
The loss of power in West Bengal was followed recently by the ouster of the party from power in Tripura — also at a time when Yechury led the party as its general secretary from Delhi. The Kerala assembly polls this time saw near-total defeat for the CPIM and CPI –main segments of the LDF. The CPIM had fielded 16 candidates this time in Kerala, while the CPI fielded four — TVM, Mavelikkara, Thrissur and Wayanad. CPIM won one seat — Alappuzha — while the CPI lost all the four.
To their luck, the CPI and CPIM were leading prominently in two each constituencies in Tamil Nadu this time. The victory in these segments meant three seats altogether for the CPIM and two seats for the CPI. Across India, the two communist parties drew a blank as per reports till this evening. The CPI also lost in a Bihar constituency where its JNU star, Kanhaiya Kumar was fielded.
Sitaram Yechury had no ground support, and his party remained on the edges of India, but he fashioned himself as PM Modi’s rival. He was aggressively taking on PM Modi ever since he became Prime Minister. Yechury also projected himself as a champion of secularism, while India has moved ahead from old crazy, meaningless ideas. Some say he took on a Congress role to perfection, while others say he acted as a political agent for the Congress leadership — or the Nehru family. There were also those who saw his brahminical elitism behind his barbs at Modi, who consciously projects himself as son of a chaiwala. Communists in India are mostly an elitist lot.
Yechury made big noises in the Rajya Sabha, until his term ended two years ago, but he carried on with his verbal offensives against Modi through media statements — a pet manner in which CPIM leaders try to grow the party from their chairs in the air-conditioned party offices in Delhi and elsewhere.
Yechury, like former general secretary Prakash Karat, came into national politics from his student activism in the JNU. The two were given prominent positions in the organisation when EMS Namboodiripad functioned as the party’s general secretary in the 198os. Karat is ideologically oriented and does not indulge in fights with political rivals.
Yechury is seen as one among the rootless leaders — he never faced people in any assembly or parliament election, or even a panchayat or ward poll, other than indirect elections to Rajya Sabha via the West Bengal assembly. Yet, he missed no opportunity to fight and belittle an elected leader of the nation like Narendra Modi. Rather, it turned into an obsession for him in the past five years.
Similarly, another left leader and CPI national secretary, D Raja, got Rajya Sabha terms in the past, thanks to the help from J Jayalalithaa as AIADMK leader, through Tamil Nadu assembly.
The CPIM’s defeat in the Kerala elections however has little to do with Yechury. State party leadership and CM Pinarayi Vijayan have larger say on such matters in the state, though nods are obtained from central leadership.
SCENE IN TAMIL NADU
The CPI and the CPIM were part of an alliance led by the resurgent DMK this time. The Congress was also DMK’s ally. The reds and the Congress won seats due to the wave in the state in favour of DMK, the first time when the state is facing a poll after the demise of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and another towering figure J Jayalalithaa of the ADMK. While Karunanidhi died after handing over leadership to Stalin, Jayalalithaa left no such word, and the result was an internal revolt, which hurt the AIADMK badly. This has helped the DMK this time. IHN-NN
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