Press Communiqué

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on May 31 and June 1, 2001. It has issued the following statement:

Assembly Elections

While undertaking a preliminary review of the Party’s performance in these elections, the Central Committee decided that a comprehensive review would be made following discussions in the respective state committees subsequently to draw proper lessons for the future.

West Bengal: The Central Committee saluted the people of West Bengal for once again reposing faith in the Left Front and giving it a two-thirds majority for an unprecedented sixth term. This is a record of sorts in the history of parliamentary democracy worldwide.

This victory is in the main a reaffirmation by the people of West Bengal to safeguard the gains of the 24-year long Left Front rule and to consolidate them in the future.

The C.C. noted that despite a concerted attack by all reactionary forces ably assisted by the media, the people of West Bengal met the challenge by reposing their faith in the Left Front. While the Left Front retained its 49 per cent of the vote share, the CPI(M) increased its share marginally from 36.4 per cent to 36.6 per cent.

Kerala: The Central Committee self-critically discussed the performance of the Party and the LDF in the recent elections. The LDF share of the vote decreased marginally by one per cent from 44.69 in 1996 to 43.70 in 2001. The UDF vote share however, increased from 43.58 in 1996 to 49.17 in 2001. This substantial increase in the UDF vote share can only be explained by the fact that the BJP which polled 8.05 per cent in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections got only 5.20 percent in this election. This big difference in the vote share explains the scale of the UDF victory. There was an open consolidation of all reactionary forces behind the UDF, ranging from sections of the RSS to the Muslim fundamentalist PDP.

The Central Committee, however, noted that the marginal erosion of the LDF vote was due to various shortcomings. These are being examined in detail by the Kerala State Committee and proper lessons would be drawn from this review.

The massive crash in the prices of agricultural cash crops, which substantially contribute to the livelihood of millions in Kerala, created enormous discontent. The state government whose revenues largely depend upon the duties on the cash crops, was handicapped to provide any relief. The consequent dissatisfaction amongst the people led, amongst others, to their alienation.

The Central Committee strongly condemned the post-electoral violence unleashed against the CPI(M) by the UDF. Two CPI(M) activists have been killed and in many places the Party offices have been attacked.

Overall Impact: The massive defeat of the BJP and its allies, DMK in Tamilnadu and AGP in Assam clearly reflect the people’s discontent and disapproval of the BJP-led NDA’s policies and performance. In all the states, the BJP’s vote share has substantially declined. The BJP could not win a single seat in both West Bengal and Kerala. It was badly mauled in all three by-elections to the Lok Sabha, losing its sitting Trichy seat.

People’s Front

Under these circumstances, the Central Committee welcomed the formation of the People’s Front. It decided to strengthen it by unleashing countrywide mass agitations, drawing in large sections of the people against the unprecedented burdens being imposed by the Vajpayee government.

The Central Committee felt that it is only such an alternative which steers clear from the policies of both the Congress and the communal forces that can today protect the interests of the Indian people and the country.

People’s Agitations

The Central Committee welcomed the remarkable unity achieved by the entire TU movement against the economic policies of liberalisation and privatisation. It extended its complete support to the various actions being planned by the organised working class and the trade unions against the ruinous economic policies being pursued by the Vajpayee government. The course of reckless liberalisation is being pursued relentlessly with every sector of the economy being thrown open for the plunder of foreign capital. The government is abdicating its responsibility of providing essential services to the people by dismantling the public distribution system; abandoning minimum support price to the peasantry and drastically reducing other subsidies.

The worst attack is being felt by the peasantry. Large tracts of our country have been affected by a severe drought. The withdrawal of quantitative restrictions have ruined the life of millions. Infrastructural inadequacies like lack of power during sowing and harvesting is affecting large sections.

In this situation, the Central Committee decided that on the burning issues facing the peasantry, mass militant actions must be launched by all CPI(M) units on the basis of the concrete conditions.

Foreign Policy

The Central Committee expressed its serious concern at the pro-US shift of India’s foreign policy. The eagerness to welcome the Bush administration’s NMD proposal, even while many traditional allies of the US expressed reservations, confirms this. India’s silence at the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Palestinians denying them their fundamental right to a homeland and its refusal to condemn the gross violation of international law by the US in the spy surveillance incident in the People’s Republic of China clearly shows that the Vajpayee government has abandoned India’s traditional foreign policy consensus.


The Central Committee of the CPI(M) welcomed the forthcoming Indo-Pak summit level talks. The Central Committee, however, has asked the Vajpayee government to define the agenda and the scope of these talks. Any discussion with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue will have to be based on the Shimla agreement. However, any solution to the conflict in Kashmir is possibly only when the crucial issues of greater autonomy and defence of Article 370 are reiterated. On this score, the Vajpayee government has consistently been against both these measures. Unless this is reversed, any meaningful progress is not possible.

Demands For Smaller States

The Central Committee expressed its serious concern at the growing demands for disruption of the linguistic basis of the states in the country. If all the existing demands are to be considered, India would be divided into more than sixty units. This would seriously undermine the federal concept of a multilingual, multinational country. This would lead towards an authoritarian unitary State structure further worsening Centre-State relations.

The genuine issue of tackling regional backwardness and economic imbalances must be seriously addressed through concrete economic packages and consequent financial allocations. Instead of doing this, the BJP and the Congress in many places (such as Telangana, Vidarbha) are fanning such disruption. Mere division of the states is no automatic solution for overcoming backwardness, as shown by the country’s experience. The Central Committee called upon all the CPI(M) units in the states to concretely take up the issue of regional backwardness and work out measures for their redress.

17th Party Congress

The Central Committee decided that the 17th Congress of the Party would be convened in the first quarter of 2002. The venue and other details will be worked out by the Central Committee subsequently.