Decline in Muslim, youth representation leaves CPM worried

At a time when youth and minority communities are up in arms against the BJP, the CPM finds it discouraging that the Muslim community and the younger generation do not find it an attractive platform to join. DH file photo for representation

At a time when youth and minority communities are up in arms against the BJP, the CPM finds it discouraging that the Muslim community and the younger generation do not find it an attractive platform to join.

The inability on its part to attract youth and minorities has puzzled the party and it finds a mention in the Political Organisation Report placed before the ongoing party congress in Hyderabad, which started on Wednesday. The triennial conference will end on Sunday.

The party has found some traction among tribals, the report said, citing that in states like Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh that have a substantial tribal population, their representation has increased. In Maharashtra, the membership of tribals has increased from 15.7% to 22.6% while in Chhattisgarh, the rise is from 20% to 28% between 2015 and 2018.

However, the "picture is discouraging as far as Muslim minority representation is concerned". The report goes on to say that there was no improvement in any of the states except West Bengal where Muslim membership has increased from 7.1% at the time of 21st party congress in Vishakhapatnam to 11.3% now.

A senior CPM leader described the situation as "worrisome" because it being a secular party, it sends a message that the minorities do not place trust in the party. "The fight is against the BJP and if their main target does not trust us, then there is some problem," he said.

The report noted that the decision of party's Kolkata Plenum in 2015 to improve class and social exposition has not been "pursued seriously", except in a few cases.

The youth front also gave an unimpressive story as there was "no improvement" in the age exposition of party membership in states like Karnataka. It was decided to ensure more representation for youth below 31 years in states where their representation was less than 20% of the total membership.

"In fact, there is a decline in those below 31 years like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Odisha between 2015 and 2017," the report said.

On a positive note, it said Kerala with the highest membership has relative good youth representation with 23.45% being below 31 years, which is an improvement over 22.7% in 2015.

On social media presence, the report gave a rosy picture saying its campaign on several issues. While its Twitter followers were 6,000 and Facebook followers 60,000 during 2015 Party Conference, it rose to 1.71 lakh on Twitter and 3.40 lakh on Facebook.

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