Credibility crisis

Credibility crisis

Credibility crisis

If the BJP’s post-poll soul-searching produced more heat than light, there was a better attempt among the Left parties to identify the reasons for their drubbing in the elections. But this was seen more in the minor partners of the Left Front than in the leader. Thus CPI leader A B Bardhan admitted in public that the withdrawal of support to the UPA government was a mistake and that the Left parties were not in tune with the expectations of the people. He not only identified the tactical mistakes but also pointed out the deficiencies in the Left cadres’ attitude to issues and the people. He felt the cadres had become arrogant and did not respect the privacy of people’s lives. This is another way of saying that the Left had alienated itself from the people and did not care much for citizens’ freedoms. Complaint s about the dominance of the party in communist-controlled governments are not new, but it may be the first time that a senior leader is identifying its manifestation as a sign of weakness of the party.

There was more honesty and frankness in Bardhan’s introspection than in CPM general secretary Prakash Karat’s analysis. Karat refused to accept any responsibility and claimed that he had only implemented the decisions of the party’s central committee. No one might be held accountable for the party’s worst showing in electoral history, though the party has found it had made mistakes. But the CPM spoke about why the Congress won more than why it lost, and  their findings were either pedestrian or well-known. It found that the affluent classes, the middle class, the youth, women and the minorities supported the Congress. It also found that the high economic growth in the first four years had helped the country to better cope with the slowdown.

These factors favoured the Congress, but what was it that went wrong with the CPM? The party refused to acknowledge in public that the factional warfare in Kerala or the mishandling of land acquistion issues in West Bengal damaged the party. The farthest it went about the withdrawal of support was that it could not properly explain its decision to the people. There is a refusal within the CPM to make an honest analysis of its defeat and take the people into confidence on its findings. The CPI seems to be more open and sincere in its introspection.

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