CPI(M) membership dips in Bengal


New Delhi: Parallel to its electoral fortunes, the CPI(M)’s membership has declined in West Bengal and increased significantly in Kerala.

At a two-day meeting which ended on Friday, the Central Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, assessed the organisational strength nationwide. The political-organisation report, which carried details of the organisational expansion, was discussed. And it will be tabled at the party congress to be held in Hyderabad from April 18 to 22.

The plenum, held in December 2015, decided: “Expansion of the party cannot be equated with the expansion of membership without taking into account the quality of members.” It had come up with a five-point rule for membership renewal. It comprises payment of membership fee and levy, regular attendance at branch meetings, satisfactory participation in party classes, political campaigns and agitations, active participation in mass front work, unless exempted, and regular reading of party organs and subscribing to them.

“The West Bengal unit has been stringently applying the five-point rule decided at the Kolkata plenum. So it is natural that there will a drop in membership,” general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

The CPI(M) will put up candidates in 18 seats for the Karnataka elections. The Left Front, as a whole, will contest from 30 seats. In 2013, the CPI(M) contested from 16 seats and lost deposit in 15, polling barely 0.22% votes. “In these elections, the main objective of the CPI(M) will be to defeat the BJP. Apart from the seats where we are contesting, we have decided to support the strongest candidate,” Mr. Yechury said.

Asked what if the “strongest” would be a Congress candidate, he said it was for the people to decide.


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