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Updated: June 12, 2010 00:17 IST

'Communist movement in India at a crossroads'

Ananya Dutta
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Gurudas Gupta
The Hindu Gurudas Gupta

Needs restructuring to bring it closer to the people: Gurudas Dasgupta

The Communist movement in India “is at a crossroads” and needs “a restructuring and greater democratisation” to bring it closer to the people, senior leader of the Communist Party of India Gurudas Dasgupta said here on the eve of the party's national council meeting to be held in Hyderabad.

Speaking to The Hindu on Friday, Mr. Dasgupta said the setback suffered by the Left in the recent civic elections “is not only a question of a poll debacle in West Bengal, but begs the larger question: why has the Left not been able to make a headway at the national level?”

He spoke of the “need for the restructuring of the Communist movement and re-committing itself to humanism and the people.”

He regretted that despite several years at the helm in West Bengal, apart from a few initiatives such as land reforms and the strengthening of the Panchayati Raj system, the Left had not been able to “reflect an alternative line.”

“The setting up of a few industrial units cannot meet the aspirations of the younger generations,” he said, adding that hardly any attempts were made to take care of sick units.

‘Working class alienated'

Pointing out that the Left had suffered reverses in industrial belts, particularly on either side of the Ganga, Mr. Dasgupta said: “The violation of labour laws and gross exploitation of labour in traditional industries, including jute and tea, have alienated the working class.”

“The role of the trade unions has been undermined and even the right of workers to go on strike was questioned,” said Mr. Dasgupta, who is also general secretary of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).

He said it was possible for the Left to bounce back to the centre of Indian polity by “rallying democratic forces, re-evaluating its policies, and building up a militant mass struggle at a time when Parliament is being sidelined in the political system.”

On whether the “restructuring of the Left movement” could be achieved before the 2011 Assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala, Mr. Dasgupta said: “The potential of the Left doesn't depend on the result of one election.” He emphasised the need for a public debate to find the root causes of the Left poll reverses.

“Discussion within the confines of the party organisation, as is normally done, is not enough to bring out the truth…they ought to be held at a broader level for the sake of an objective assessment of the situation.”

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