Liberal scholars of India are showing concerns over the rising popularity of right-wing Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). They are also worried about the future of the Indian left.  This article answers the questions raised on the future of the Indian left. It appears that the next five years will be difficult for progressive voices of India. Here Indian opposition parties are also responsible for not offering an alternative of Modi. Opposition parties in India have no clear ideology on economic and other important affairs. It seems that the Indian left is also facing a leadership crisis.

In 2004, the leftist alliance managed to win around 50 seats out of 543 in the lower house. In last elections, the left got only five seats. Experts opine that these results indicate the rise of nationalist wave in India. These polls confirmed the inability and defamation of Indian left. Instead of accusing nationalism the liberal circles should look inside.

Now let’s have a look at a brief history. The Communist Party of India (CPI) was established in 1925. Its founder was MN Roy. Despite having a clear ideology, CPI could not get the popularity of the Muslim League and Congress. After the independence in 1947, the party started a well-organized campaign. In 1957 CPI won elections in Kerala. However internal rifts soon split CPI into two fragments. One fragment was CPI, and other was CPI-M (Marxist). In1974 these factions joined hands again and emerged as a single entity named as Left front.

Here it must be noted that CPI-M managed to get some electoral victories. In 1967 CPI-M and allies won state elections in West Bengal and formed a coalition government. In the same years, workers and laborers of Naxalbari village started a fierce movement against big landowners. Many members of CPI-M were also part of this movement. This uprising soon reached in big cities of the state. When the situation deteriorated the, then Home minister ordered a crackdown. The Home minister Mr. Jyoti Basu was also a member of CPI-M.

Photo via wikimedia.org

CPI-M faced much success in 40 years. Its center of power was West Bengal. Its success was all because of proposing and implementing the reforms. These reforms, to some extent, abolished landlordism in the state. Feudal lords of the West Bengal started criticizing CPI-M. But CPI-M effectively managed the affairs of land reforms. The labor class was happy with these reforms.

But experts opine that lower class peasants could not achieve the benefits of these reforms. Slowly but steadily, CPI-P started losing popularity in the state. CPI-M was accused of favoring a specific labor class while ignoring other labors. CPI-M started sealing factories on the name of maintaining the natural beauty of the region. Unfortunately, CPI-M began to snatching land of farmers and awarded these lands to the country’s big capitalists. It was visible that CPI-M is deviating from its ideology.

Instead of maintaining close relations with the voters, the CPI-M started establishing relations with the capitalist to strengthen its political power. It was apparent that the only purpose of CPI-M was to stay in power as long as possible.

Ten years ago the CPI-M government asked central government and the Israeli government to send reinforcement in the region. The purpose of this request was to tackle the uprising in Lalgarh. The ideological voters of Kerala were also unhappy with the practices of CPI-M. Conclusively the party failed to maintain and propagate its political agenda. The diminishing popularity of CPI-M provided an opportunity for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to promote its ideology. RSS is purely a right-wing group.

Party flags of Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena are on display during Lal Krishna Advani, NDA’s Prime ministerial candidate address during an election rally in the western Indian city of Mumbai on 6th March 2008

In past years, CPI-M canceled the memberships of many ideological workers of the party. Many CPI-M leaders established ties with big business corporations. This brought many anti-labor laws in the region, such as the formation of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the region. The party lost popularity after these laws. CPI-M also have no proper Dalit representation in the party. Also, the party could not maintain an equal representation of different religions.

Hypocritic behavior was also one of the reasons for CPI-M’s failure. In 2007 CPI-M opposed US-India nuclear deal. However, Wikileaks claimed that CPI-M’s leaders assured the central government that it would support US-India nuclear deal in parliament. CPI-M also showed hypocrisy on Kashmir issue. On one side it criticized the army crackdown, and on the other, It also does not recognize the right of self-determination of Kashmiris.

As a result of these policies, the ideological voter of CPI-M was in shock in recent elections. Many ideological voters opted to stay quiet while others voted for BJP.

Flag of the communist party in Kerala India – Photo via wikipedia.org

Now if Indian left wants a comeback, it will have to look inside. It will have to amass support from grassroots peasants. It will also have to satisfy its ideological workers. It will also have to get the support of most of the lower castes like Dalits. the

The people of this ideology always opposed state power. In the past, these people have raised voices against mining corporations. They struggled to protect their lands from big business giants. Now the future of Indian left depends upon a strong political ideology and resistive phenomenon. The leftists will have to gather the support of landless farmers and lower caste peasants. It also needs to solidify its ideology and develop a framework to implement its socialist plans. Now the ideological voters and workers will decide the future of Indian left.