28 February, 2021

All That’s Left Behind

There’s no sign of a Left phoenix rising from the ashes

Lenin’s statue demolished
All That’s Left Behind

Within seven years of the rout in West Bengal after a continuous reign of 34 years, the CPI(M) has suffered a similar fate in Tripura, which it had held for an unbroken 25 years. The country’s largest Left party is now left with a stake in power only in Kerala, where a front headed by it has been taking turns with a Congress-led combine to form the government since 1980. The CPI(M)’s fall considerably shrinks the space of the Left in the Indian polity. In terms of known popular base, the CPI is not even one-fourth its size. In the last Lok Sabha election, the CPI(M) fielded 93 candidates—nine won, 50 forfeited their deposits, and the party garnered a 3.28 per cent voteshare. The CPI put up 67 candidates—one won, 57 lost their deposits, and the party got a paltry voteshare of 0.79 per cent.

The Left’s decline comes as the BJP-led right-wing forces are rising across the country, while the Congress and other centrist parties are losing ground. This raises questions about the future of plurality in the Indian polity, and also about how Left is...

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