EMSINTE SAMPOORNA KRITIKAL Vols. 46 and 47: Chintha Publishers, Thiruvananthapuram. Rs. 150 each.

THE VOLUMES under review contain E. M. S. Namboodiripad's answers to questions posed by readers of the party journal Chintha between 1972 and 1990. While the Communist Party of India had aligned itself with the Congress during the Emergency, the CPI (M) had backed the anti-Emergency forces. It had also supported the Janata Government that took office after the electorate threw out the Emergency regime. These developments at the national level created ideological confusion in the minds of party members and it was reflected in their questions. Namboodiripad agreed with them that the class character of the Janata Party was not different from that of the Congress. At the same time, he explained, treating some parties as enemies, and some others as friends mechanically, without taking into account the changing political circumstances was not in keeping with Marxist practice. He justified the party's cooperation with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh during the Emergency as a need of the time. In Kerala, the CPI (M) had forged alliances with different breakaway Congress groups during this period. Seeking to dispel party men's doubts on this score, Namboodiripad said it was necessary to forge alliances to bring about the kind of political changes that the CPI (M) desired. Its policy was to cooperate with bourgeois parties, retaining its own working class character. Namboodiripad defended the CPI (M) entering into an electoral alliance with the Muslim League in Tamil Nadu even as it was fighting against that party in Kerala, saying the situation in the two States differed.