Arresting membership decline crucial: Yechury

Sitaram Yechury says the CPI(M) has been able to sustain itself despite the murder of many workers.

Updated - November 26, 2021 10:26 pm IST

Published - April 27, 2015 02:19 am IST - Kolkata:

Sitaram Yechury saysthe CPI(M) has beenable to sustain itselfdespite the murder ofmany workers.

Sitaram Yechury saysthe CPI(M) has beenable to sustain itselfdespite the murder ofmany workers.

A key objective of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) will be to arrest the decline in membership in West Bengal, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury said here on Sunday.

“The major task is to first arrest the decline and then to reverse it. In the Party Congress, we have decided to convene an organisational plenum where we will discuss the issue and take required steps,” he said. Mr. Yechury was addressing his first press conference in West Bengal after his election to the top post in the congress.

Membership drops

CPI(M) membership in West Bengal had dropped by nearly 40,000 over the past four years ever since the Trinamool Congress came to power. While many of the card-holding members refused to renew their membership, students and the youth were more eager to join the Trinamool or the Bharatiya Janata Party in the State, governed by the Left for three-and-a-half decades.

Mr. Yechury, however, partly blamed “terror tactics” allegedly initiated by the Trinamool for the decline in the membership. “Much of the decline in the party’s mass organisation also is a consequence of violence and politics of terror … than any inherent weakness in the CPI(M),” Mr. Yechury said.

He said the party had been able to sustain itself despite the murder of many party workers. “It indicates our capability of resistance,” Mr. Yechury said. However, political observers are doubtful if a change at the helm will be able to arrest membership decline.

“One leader cannot change the future of the party. It has to be seen whether there is a change in the party’s political strategy,” veteran journalist Rohit Basu, a former cardholding member of the party, told The Hindu .

‘Disappointed with leaders’

Mr. Basu said the party workers were “disappointed” with the leaders. “They felt that the leadership did not stand by them when they were targeted by the ruling party. Many also feel the CPI(M) will not be able to challenge the Trinamool and thus distanced themselves.”

However, he said members who had left the party might have joined at a time when the party was in power for decades and thus the new cardholders were more of “fly-by-night operators” than “time-tested” workers. “Desertion [of operators] may actually help the CPI(M) in the long run, if they manage to retain the genuine comrades,” Mr. Basu said.

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