Leaders hope that the banned CPI (Maoist) will take a cue and shun violence to join mainstream politics
The strong showing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation party in the Bihar Assembly elections, where it won 12 out of the 19 seats it contested as part of the Mahagathbandhan (MGB) alliance, has come as an eye-opener for Left parties across the country.
Leaders from the Left are now hopeful that the performance of the CPI (ML) in the face of relentless propaganda by the ruling coalition in Bihar might inspire even the banned CPI (Maoist) to rethink its strategy of using violence to achieve its goals.
“Fundamentally, the CPI (ML) was an underground revolutionary party founded by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal and others, who led the Naxalite movement in West Bengal and Srikakulam among other places in the country.”
“But over the years, we have realised that the basic philosophy of Charu Majumdar — of creating liberated zones through armed struggle and expanding them to gain political power — may not be possible, and Vinod Mishra who took over the party after Majumdar’s death, took the party from underground activities to the political mainstream,” said P. Ajay Kumar of the CPI (ML), who unsuccessfully contested the Anakapalle Lok Sabha seat in 2019.
“With the results achieved in Bihar, it has become evident that it is possible to have revolutionary ideals in a democratic framework. It is time that the CPI (Maoist) realised it,” he said.
“We were offered just 19 seats in the MGB and we won 12. Were we given 50 seats as sought, we could have won more and the MGB would have ended up forming the government in Bihar,” said Mr. Ajay Kumar, quoting Dipankar Bhattacharya, the current leader of the CPI (ML).
Bihar is a backward state and we traditionally have a strong cadre unlike the Congress. And we are determined to fight the BJP in all States, as the right-wing party has paralysed all democratic institutions, Mr. Ajay Kumar said.
In 2015, the party won three seats in Balrampur, Darauli and Tarari. In 2020, they not only consolidated those three seats but also won nine others, taking the tally to 12.
A.P. in focus
With a presence in 16 states, the party is now focusing on expanding its cadre base in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
“In A.P., there are around nine Left parties and throughout the year, we fight together on issues by coming on to one platform. But whenever elections are in sight, the bigger Left parties have their own ideas. In most cases, they enter into a coalition with another bigger regional party to fight the elections,” said Mr. Ajay Kumar.
According to him, if the Left parties come together and fight elections without siding with other regional or national parties, things would be different. “We can have our own seat-sharing model, but such things are not discussed before the elections. Now, it is time that we look into this aspect,” said Mr. Ajay Kumar