Interview With : Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI)
Updated on: 24 Jun 2016
Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), is confident about the revival of the Left. Reddy, who has been a member of Lok Sabha twice, believes that reunification of the Left parties can help consolidate the communist movement. Talking to Pankaj Srivastava, Reddy discusses the problems and prospects of the Indian Left.
The Left Front ruled West Bengal for more than three decades. After the latest assembly elections, it is placed third, after the Congress. How do you analyse this situation?
To some extent the result of the Bengal elections came as a shock to the Left. As a matter of fact, it was only after some kind of understanding with the Congress that the Left could openly campaign in many places in West Bengal. For the last two-three years, there has been a lot of 'gundagardi' [hooliganism]. People are not being allowed to participate in the 'Jatha programme' [rallies in rural areas]. Even the 70-80-year-old CPM leaders were made to hold their ears and do sit ups by the Trinamool workers. So, initially there was a feeling that the campaign could not be carried out. But when the campaign started, a large number of people participated and we possibly got more support than we had expected. Thus, when the seats reduced to 32 [from 60], we were taken aback. But I understand that what has been said is not completely correct. For example, it has been said that the Left vote has been reduced by 10 percent. But the comparison should be with the 2014 [general elections] and not 2011 [previous assembly elections]. Between 2011 and 2014, the Left lost quite a chunk of political space. 2014 onwards, it managed to increase its vote base.
Still, I do not understand what exactly went wrong. In spite of antisocial elements gathering under the banner of a single political party [TMC], we lost. I think the influence of Mamata Banerjee's so-called welfare schemes and the subsidies given to imams was also miscalculated by the Left.
CPM's politburo had criticised the strategy of forging an alliance with the Congress. What is your take?