Communist Party of India (Marxist)

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Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Secretary-GeneralSitaram Yechury[1]
Rajya Sabha leaderT. K. Rangarajan[2]
FounderP. Sundarayya
E.M.S. Namboodiripad
Harkishan Singh
A.K. Gopalan
Promode Dasgupta
B.T. Ranadive
M. Basavapunnaiah
Jyoti Basu[3][4]
P. Ramamurti
Founded7 November 1964 (54 years ago) (1964-11-07)
Split fromCommunist Party of India
HeadquartersA.K. Gopalan Bhawan, 27-29, Bhai Vir Singh Marg, New Delhi-110 001
NewspaperPeople's Democracy
Student wingStudents' Federation of India
Youth wingDemocratic Youth Federation of India
Women's wingAll India Democratic Women's Association
Labour wingCentre of Indian Trade Unions
Peasant's wingAll India Kisan Sabha (Ashoka Road)
Tribal wingGanamukti Parishad
Membership1 million (2018)[5]
Political positionFar-left
International affiliationInternational Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
Colours     Red
ECI StatusNational Party[7]
AllianceUPA (2004–2008)
Left Front (Tripura)
Left Front (West Bengal)
Left Democratic Front (Kerala)
Left-Democratic Manch, Assam
Seats in Lok Sabha
3 / 545
Seats in Rajya Sabha
5 / 245
Seats in 
Number of states and union territories in government
1 / 31
Election symbol
Indian Election Symbol Hammer Sickle and Star.png

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (abbreviated CPI(M)) is a communist political party in India that adheres to Marxist–Leninist theory.[6][8] It is one of the national parties of India;[7] the party emerged from a split from the Communist Party of India in 1964. The CPI(M) was formed at the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of India held in Calcutta from 31 October to 7 November 1964; as of 2018, CPI(M) is leading the state government in Kerala and has representation in the following Legislative assemblies in the states of Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha and Maharashtra.[9] As of 2018, CPI(M) claimed to have 1 million members;[10] the highest body of the party is the Politburo.


Formation of CPI(M)[edit]

Communist Party of India(Marxist) emerged from a division within the Communist Party of India (CPI); the undivided CPI had experienced a period of upsurge during the years following the Second World War. The CPI led armed rebellions in Telangana, Tripura, and Kerala. However, it soon abandoned the strategy of armed revolution in favour of working within the parliamentary framework. In 1950 B. T. Ranadive, the CPI general secretary and a prominent representative of the radical sector inside the party, was demoted on grounds of left-adventurism.

Under the government of the Indian National Congress party of Jawaharlal Nehru, independent India developed close relations and a strategic partnership with the Soviet Union; the Soviet government consequently wished that the Indian communists moderate their criticism towards the Indian state and assume a supportive role towards the Congress governments. However, large sections of the CPI claimed that India remained a semi-feudal country, and that class struggle could not be put on the back-burner for the sake of guarding the interests of Soviet trade and foreign policy. Moreover, the Indian National Congress appeared to be generally hostile towards political competition. In 1959 the central government intervened to impose President's Rule in Kerala, toppling the E.M.S. Namboodiripad cabinet (the sole non-Congress state government in the country).

Simultaneously, the relations between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of China soured, leading to the Sino-Soviet split. In the early 1960s the Communist Party of China began criticising the CPSU of turning revisionist and of deviating from the path of Marxism–Leninism. Sino-Indian relations also deteriorated, as border disputes between the two countries erupted into the Sino-Indian War of 1962.

The basis of difference in opinion between the two factions in CPI was ideological – about the assessment of Indian scenario and the development of a party programme; this difference in opinion was also a reflection of a similar difference at international level on ideology between the Soviet and Chinese parties. The alleged 'right wing' inside the party followed the Soviet path and put forward the idea of joining hands with the then ruling party – Indian National Congress. Whereas the faction of CPI which later became CPI(M) referred to this as a revisionist approach of class collaboration, it was this ideological difference which later intensified, coupled with the Soviet-Chinese split at the international level and ultimately gave birth to CPI(M).[11]

Hundreds of CPI leaders, accused of being pro-Chinese, were imprisoned. Thousands of Communists were detained without trial;[12] those targeted by the state accused the pro-Soviet leadership of the CPI of conspiring with the Congress government to ensure their own hegemony over the control of the party.

In 1962 Ajoy Ghosh, the general secretary of the CPI, died. After his death, S.A. Dange was installed as the party chairman (a new position) and E.M.S. Namboodiripad as general secretary; this was an attempt to achieve a compromise. Dange represented the rightist faction of the party and E.M.S. the leftist faction.

At a CPI National Council meeting held on 11 April 1964, 32 Council members walked out in protest, accusing Dange and his followers of "anti-unity and anti-Communist policies".[13]

The leftist section, to which the 32 National Council members belonged, organised a convention in Tenali, Andhra Pradesh 7 to 11 July. In this convention the issues of the internal disputes in the party were discussed. 146 delegates, claiming to represent 100,000 CPI members, took part in the proceedings. The convention decided to convene the 7th Party Congress of CPI in Calcutta later the same year.[14]

Marking a difference from the Dangeite sector of CPI, the Tenali convention was marked by the display of a large portrait of the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong.[14]

At the Tenali convention a Bengal-based pro-Chinese group, representing one of the most radical streams of the CPI left wing, presented a draft programme proposal of their own; these radicals criticised the draft programme proposal prepared by M. Basavapunniah for undermining class struggle and failing to take a clear pro-Chinese position in the ideological conflict between the CPSU and CPC.[15]

After the Tenali convention the CPI left wing organised party district and state conferences. In West Bengal, a few of these meetings became battlegrounds between the most radical elements and the more moderate leadership. At the Calcutta Party District Conference an alternative draft programme was presented to the leadership by Parimal Das Gupta (a leading figure amongst far-left intellectuals in the party). Another alternative proposal was brought forward to the Calcutta Party District Conference by Aziz ul Haq, but Haq was initially banned from presenting it by the conference organisers. At the Calcutta Party District Conference 42 delegates opposed M. Basavapunniah's official draft programme proposal.

At the Siliguri Party District Conference, the main draft proposal for a party programme was accepted, but with some additional points suggested by the far-left North Bengal cadre Charu Majumdar. However, Harekrishna Konar (representing the leadership of the CPI left wing) forbade the raising of the slogan Mao Tse-Tung Zindabad (Long live Mao Tse-Tung) at the conference.

Parimal Das Gupta's document was also presented to the leadership at the West Bengal State Conference of the CPI leftwing. Das Gupta and a few other spoke at the conference, demanding the party ought to adopt the class analysis of the Indian state of the 1951 CPI conference, his proposal was, however, voted down.[16]

The Calcutta Congress was held between 31 October and 7 November, at Tyagraja Hall in southern Calcutta. Simultaneously, the Dange group convened a Party Congress of CPI in Bombay. Thus, the CPI divided into two separate parties; the group which assembled in Calcutta would later adopt the name 'Communist Party of India (Marxist)', to differentiate themselves from the Dange group. The CPI(M) also adopted its own political programme. P. Sundarayya was elected general secretary of the party.

In total 422 delegates took part in the Calcutta Congress. CPI(M) claimed that they represented 104,421 CPI members, 60% of the total party membership.

At the Calcutta conference the party adopted a class analysis of the character of the Indian state, that claimed the Indian bourgeoisie was increasingly collaborating with imperialism.[17]

Parimal Das Gupta's alternative draft programme was not circulated at the Calcutta conference. However, Souren Basu, a delegate from the far-left stronghold Darjeeling, spoke at the conference asking why no portrait had been raised of Mao Tse-Tung along the portraits of other communist stalwarts, his intervention met with huge applauses from the delegates of the conference .[17]


CPI(M) is officially known as भारत की कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी मार्क्सवादी(Bharat ki Kamyunist Party Marksvadi) in Hindi, but it is often known as मार्क्सवादी कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी (Marksvadi Kamyunist Party, abbreviated MaKaPa) in press and media circles. During its initial years after the split, the party was often referred by different names such as 'Left Communist Party' or 'Communist Party of India (Left)'; the party has used the name 'Left' because CPI people were dubbed as rightist in nature for their support to Congress-Nehru regime. During Kerala Legislative Assembly elections of 1965 the party has adopted the name 'Communist Party of India (Marxist)' to obtain its election symbol from the Election Commission of India.[18]

Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Campaign vehicle in Ernakulam, Kerala.
Bengali mural for the CPI(M) candidate in the Kolkata North West constituency in the 2004 Lok Sabha election, Sudhangshu Seal.
18th CPI(M) West Bengal state conference mural.

Early years of CPI(M)[edit]

The CPI (M) was born into a hostile political climate. At the time of the holding of its Calcutta Congress, large sections of its leaders and cadres were jailed without trial. Again on 29–30 December, over a thousand CPI (M) cadres were arrested and detained, and held in jail without trial. In 1965 new waves of arrests of CPI(M) cadres took place in West Bengal, as the party launched agitations against the rise in fares in the Calcutta Tramways and against the then prevailing food crisis. Statewide general strikes and hartals were observed on 5 August 1965, 10–11 March 1966 and 6 April 1966; the March 1966 general strike results in several deaths in confrontations with police forces.

Also in Kerala, mass arrests of CPI(M) cadres were carried out during 1965. In Bihar, the party called for a Bandh (general strike) in Patna on 9 August 1965 in protest against the Congress state government. During the strike, police resorted to violent actions against the organisers of the strike; the strike was followed by agitations in other parts of the state.

P. Sundaraiah, after being released from jail, spent the period of September 1965 – February 1966 in Moscow for medical treatment. In Moscow he also held talks with the CPSU.[19]

The Central Committee of CPI(M) held its first meeting on 12–19 June 1966; the reason for delaying the holding of a regular CC meeting was the fact that several of the persons elected as CC members at the Calcutta Congress were jailed at the time.[20] A CC meeting had been scheduled to have been held in Trichur during the last days of 1964, but had been cancelled due to the wave of arrests against the party; the meeting discussed tactics for electoral alliances, and concluded that the party should seek to form a broad electoral alliances with all non-reactionary opposition parties in West Bengal (i.e. all parties except Jan Sangh and Swatantra Party). This decision was strongly criticised by the Communist Party of China, the Party of Labour of Albania, the Communist Party of New Zealand and the radicals within the party itself; the line was changed at a National Council meeting in Jullunder in October 1966, where it was decided that the party should only form alliances with selected left parties.[21]

Naxalbari uprising[edit]

At this point the party stood at crossroads. There were radical sections of the party who were wary of the increasing parliamentary focus of the party leadership, especially after the electoral victories in West Bengal and Kerala. Developments in China also affected the situation inside the party. In West Bengal two separate internal dissident tendencies emerged, which both could be identified as supporting the Chinese line.[22] In 1967 a peasant uprising broke out in Naxalbari, in northern West Bengal; the insurgency was led by hardline district-level CPI(M) leaders Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal. The hardliners within CPI(M) saw the Naxalbari uprising as the spark that would ignite the Indian revolution; the Communist Party of China hailed the Naxalbari movement, causing an abrupt break in CPI(M)-CPC relations.[23] The Naxalbari movement was violently repressed by the West Bengal government, of which CPI(M) was a major partner. Within the party, the hardliners rallied around an All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries. Following the 1968 Burdwan plenum of CPI(M) (held on 5–12 April 1968), the AICCCR separated themselves from CPI(M); this split divided the party throughout the country. But notably in West Bengal, which was the centre of the violent radicalist stream, no prominent leading figure left the party; the party and the Naxalites (as the rebels were called) were soon to get into a bloody feud.

In Andhra Pradesh another revolt was taking place. There the pro-Naxalbari dissidents had not established any presence, but in the party organisation there were many veterans from the Telangana armed struggle, who rallied against the central party leadership. In Andhra Pradesh the radicals had a strong base even amongst the state-level leadership; the main leader of the radical tendency was T. Nagi Reddy, a member of the state legislative assembly. On 15 June 1968 the leaders of the radical tendency published a press statement outlining the critique of the development of CPI(M), it was signed by T. Nagi Reddy, D.V. Rao, Kolla Venkaiah and Chandra Pulla Reddy.[24] In total around 50% of the party cadres in Andhra Pradesh left the party to form the Andhra Pradesh Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries, under the leadership of T. Nagi Reddy.[25]

Dismissal of United Front governments in West Bengal and Kerala[edit]

In November 1967, the West Bengal United Front government was dismissed by the central government. Initially the Indian National Congress formed a minority government led by Prafulla Chandra Ghosh, but that cabinet did not last long. Following the proclamation that the United Front government had been dislodged, a 48-hour hartal was effective throughout the state. After the fall of the Ghosh cabinet, the state was put under President's Rule. CPI(M) launched agitations against the interventions of the central government in West Bengal.

The 8th Party Congress of CPI(M) was held in Cochin, Kerala, on 23–29 December 1968. On 25 December 1968, whilst the congress was held, 42 Dalits were burned alive in the Tamil village of Kizhavenmani; the massacre was a retaliation from landlords after Dalit labourers had taken part in a CPI(M)-led agitation for higher wages.[26][27]

The United Front government in Kerala was forced out of office in October 1969, as the CPI, RSP, KTP and Muslim League ministers resigned. E.M.S. Namboodiripad handed in his resignation on 24 October.[28] A coalition government led by CPI leader C. Achutha Menon was formed, with the outside support of the Indian National Congress.

Elections in West Bengal and Kerala[edit]

Fresh elections were held in West Bengal in 1969. CPI(M) contested 97 seats, and won 80; the party was now the largest in the West Bengal legislative.[29] But with the active support of CPI and the Bangla Congress, Ajoy Mukherjee was returned as Chief Minister of the state. Mukherjee resigned on 16 March 1970, after a pact had been reached between CPI, Bangla Congress and the Indian National Congress against CPI(M). CPI(M) strove to form a new government, instead but the central government put the state under President's Rule.

In Kerala, fresh elections were held in 1970. CPI(M) contested 73 seats and won 29. After the election Achutha Menon formed a new ministry, including ministers from the Indian National Congress.

Formation of CITU[edit]

2004 general election mural for CPI(M) candidate Sujan Chakraborty in Jadavpur

Outbreak of war in East Pakistan[edit]

In 1971 Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) declared its independence from Pakistan; the Pakistani military tried to quell the uprising. India intervened militarily and gave active backing to the Bangladeshi rebels. Millions of Bangladeshi refugees sought shelter in India, especially in West Bengal.

At the time the radical sections of the Bangladeshi communist movement were divided into many factions. Whilst the pro-Soviet Communist Party of Bangladesh actively participated in the rebellion, the pro-China communist tendency found itself in a peculiar situation as China had sided with Pakistan in the war. In Calcutta, where many Bangladeshi leftists had sought refuge, CPI(M) worked to co-ordinate the efforts to create a new political organisation. In the fall of 1971 three small groups, which were all hosted by the CPI(M), came together to form the Bangladesh Communist Party (Leninist); the new party became the sister party of CPI(M) in Bangladesh.[30]

Political ideology and stances[edit]

The Party Constitution currently in force was adopted at the Eighth Party Congress in December 1968.[31]

Article II of the constitution lays out of the aim of the party:

"Revolutionary vanguard of the working class of India. Its aim is socialism and communism through the establishment of the state of dictatorship of the proletariat. In all its activities the Party is guided by the philosophy and principles of Marxism–Leninism which shows to the toiling masses the correct way to the ending of exploitation of man by man, their complete emancipation; the Party keeps high the banner of proletarian internationalism".

ARTICLE XXA of the constitution states that:

"The Communist Party of India (Marxist) shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India."

The party is well known for its anti-globalization and anti-capitalist stance.[32]

Party organisation[edit]

CPI(M) currently has nine MPs in Lok Sabha. CPI(M)'s highest tally was in 2004 when it got 5.66% of votes polled in and it had 43 MPs. It won 42.31% on an average in the 69 seats it contested. It supported the new Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, but without becoming a part of it. On 9 July 2008 it formally withdrew support from the UPA government explaining this by differences about the Indo-US nuclear deal and the IAEA Safeguards Agreement in particular.[33]

In West Bengal and Tripura it participates in the Left Front. In Kerala the party is part of the Left Democratic Front. In Tamil Nadu it was part of the ruling Democratic Progressive Alliance led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). However, it has since withdrawn support.

Its members in Great Britain are in the electoral front Unity for Peace and Socialism with the Communist Party of Britain and the British domiciled sections of the Communist Party of Bangladesh and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), it is standing 13 candidates in the London-wide list section of the London Assembly elections in May 2008.[34]


CPI(M) 18th Congress rally in Delhi
CPI(M) rally in Agartala
A tableaux in a CPI(M) rally in Kerala, India showing two farmers forming the hammer and sickle, the most famous communist symbol.

Since the formation of the party, its membership has been increased from 118,683 in 1964 to 1,065,406 in 2013.[35]

In 2004, the party claimed a membership of 8,67,763.[36] Following is the list of statewise members of the party as in 2004.

State 2001 2002 2003 2004 % of party
members in
Andhra Pradesh 40785 41879 45516 46742 0.0914
Assam 10480 11207 11122 10901 0.0726
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 172 140 124 90 0.0372
Bihar 17672 17469 16924 17353 0.0343
Chhattisgarh 1211 1364 1079 1054 0.0077
Delhi 1162 1360 1417 1408 0.0161
Goa 172 35 40 67 0.0071
Gujarat 2799 3214 3383 3398 0.0101
Haryana 1357 1478 1477 1608 0.0131
Himachal Pradesh 1005 1006 1014 1024 0.0245
Jammu and Kashmir 625 720 830 850 0.0133
Jharkhand 2552 2819 3097 3292 0.0200
Karnataka 6574 7216 6893 6492 0.0168
Kerala 301562 313652 318969 316305 1.4973
Madhya Pradesh 2243 2862 2488 2320 0.0060
Maharashtra 8545 9080 9796 10256 0.0163
Manipur 340 330 270 300 0.0195
Odisha 3091 3425 3502 3658 0.0143
Punjab 14328 11000 11000 10050 0.0586
Rajasthan 2602 3200 3507 3120 0.0090
Sikkim 200 180 65 75 0.0266
Tamil Nadu 86868 90777 91709 94343 0.1970
Tripura 38737 41588 46277 51343 2.5954
Uttarakhand 700 720 740 829 0.0149
Uttar Pradesh 5169 5541 5477 5877 0.0053
West Bengal 245026 262882 258682 274921 0.579
CC staff 96 95 95 87
Total 796073 835239 843896 867763 0.1292


CPI(M) leaders at the 18th party congress
G.Ramakrishnan and D.Pandian in CPI and CPI(M) Tamil Nadu Leaders Meet

The current general secretary of CPI(M) is Sitaram Yechury; the 22nd party congress of CPI(M), held in Hyderabad 18 April 2018 elected a Central Committee with 95 members including 2 permanent invitees, 6 invitees and a five member Central Control Commission. The Central Committee later elected a 17-member Politburo:[37]

Politburo members[edit]

No. Name State
1 Sitaram Yechury (General Secretary) West Bengal
2 Prakash Karat (Former General Secretary) West Bengal
3 S. Ramachandran Pillai Kerala
4 Manik Sarkar (Former Chief Minister of Tripura) Tripura
5 Pinarayi Vijayan (Chief Minister of Kerala) Kerala
6 Biman Bose West Bengal
7 B. V. Raghavulu Andhra Pradesh
8 Brinda Karat West Bengal
9 Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Kerala
10 Surja Kanta Mishra West Bengal
11 M. A. Baby Kerala
12 Mohammed Salim West Bengal
13 Subhashini Ali Uttar Pradesh
14 Hannan Mollah West Bengal
15 G.Ramakrishnan Tamil Nadu
16 Tapan Kumar Sen West Bengal
17 Nilotpal Basu West Bengal

The 22nd party congress newly inducts Tapan Sen and Nilotpal Basu into the Politburo.[37]

Central Committee elected by the 22nd Party Congress[edit]

  1. Sitaram Yechury
  2. Prakash Karat
  3. S. Ramachandran Pillai
  4. Biman Bose
  5. Manik Sarkar
  6. Brinda Karat
  7. Pinarayi Vijayan
  8. Hannan Mollah
  9. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
  10. M. A. Baby
  11. Surjya Kanta Mishra
  12. Mohammed Salim
  13. Subhashini Ali
  14. B. V. Raghavulu
  15. G. Ramakrishnan
  16. Tapan Kumar Sen
  17. Nilotpal Basu
  18. A. K. Padmanabhan
  19. Penumalli Madhu
  20. V. Srinivasa Rao
  21. M. A. Gafoor
  22. Deben Bhattacharyya
  23. Awadesh Kumar
  24. Arun Mehta
  25. Surender Mallik
  26. Onkar Shad
  27. Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami
  28. Gopi Kant Baksi
  29. G. V. Sreerama Reddy
  30. P. Karunakaran
  31. P.K. Sreemathi
  32. M.C. Josephine
  33. E.P. Jayarajan
  34. Vaikom Viswan
  35. T. M. Thomas Isaac
  36. A Vijayaraghavan
  37. K. K. Shailaja
  38. A K. Balan
  39. Elamaram Kareem
  40. Adam Narsayya Narayan
  41. Mahendra Singh
  42. Ali Kishore Patnaik
  43. Basu Deo
  44. Amra Ram
  45. T.K. Rangarajan
  46. U. Vasuki
  47. A Soundara Rajan
  48. K. Balakrishnan
  49. P. Sampath
  50. Thammineni Veerabhadram
  51. S. Veeraiah
  52. Ch. Seetha Ramulu
  53. Aghore Deb Barma
  54. Bijan Dhar
  55. Badal Choudhury
  56. Rama Das
  57. Gautam Das
  58. Hiralal Yadav
  59. Shyamal Chakraborty
  60. Mridul De
  61. Rekha Goswami
  62. Nripen Chowdhury
  63. Srideep Bhattacharya
  64. Ramachandra Dome
  65. Minoti Ghosh
  66. Anju Kar
  67. Hari Singh Kang
  68. Jogendra Sharma
  69. J. S. Majumdar
  70. K. Hemalata
  71. Sudha Sundararaman
  72. Rajendra Sharma
  73. Swadesh Dev Roye
  74. Ashok Dhawale
  75. S. Punyavati
  76. Suprakash Talukdar
  77. Arun Kumar Mishra
  78. K.M. Tiwari
  79. K. Radhakrishnan
  80. M.V. Govindan Master
  81. Jaswinder Singh
  82. J.P. Gavit
  83. G. Nagaiah
  84. Tapan Chakravarty
  85. Jiten Choudhury
  86. Muralidharan
  87. Arun Kumar
  88. Vijoo Krishnan
  89. Mariam Dhawale
  90. Rabin Deb
  91. Abhas Roy Choudhury
  92. Sujan Chakraborty
  93. Amiyo Patra
  94. Sukhwinder Singh Shekon

Special Invitees to Central Committee elected by the 22nd Party Congress[edit]

  1. V. S. Achuthanandan
  2. Mallu Swarajyam
  3. Madan Ghosh
  4. Paloli Mohammedkutty
  5. P. Ramaiah
  6. K. Varadharajan

Permanent Invitees to Central Committee elected by the 22nd Party Congress[edit]

  1. Rajinder Negi (Secretary, Uttarakhand state committee)
  2. Sanjay Parate (Secretary, Chhattisgarh state committee)

Central Control Commission elected by the 22nd Party Congress[edit]

  1. Basudev Acharia
  2. P. Rajendran
  3. S. Sridhar
  4. G. Ramulu
  5. Bonani Biswas

State Committee secretaries[edit]

  1. Andhra Pradesh: Penumalli Madhu
  2. Arunachal Pradesh: NA
  3. Assam: Deben Bhattacharyya
  4. Bihar: Abdhesh Kumar
  5. Chhattisgarh: M.K. Nandi
  6. Goa: Thaelman Perera
  7. Gujarat: Pragajibhai Bhambhi
  8. Haryana: Inderjit Singh
  9. Himachal Pradesh: Rakesh Singha[38]
  10. Jammu & Kashmir : Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami
  11. Jharkhand: G.K. Bakshi
  12. Karnataka: G.V.Shree Ram Reddy
  13. Kerala : Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
  14. Madhya Pradesh: Badal Saroj
  15. Maharashtra: Narsayya Adam (Master)
  16. Meghalaya: NA
  17. Manipur: Sarat Salam
  18. Mizoram: NA
  19. Nagaland: NA
  20. Odisha: Alikishore Patnaik
  21. Punjab: Charan Singh Virdi (Acting)
  22. Rajasthan: Vasudev Sharma
  23. Sikkim: Balram Adhikari
  24. Tamil Nadu: K. Balakrishnan
  25. Telangana: T. Veerbhadram
  26. Tripura: Bijan Dhar
  27. Uttarakhand: Vijai Rawat
  28. Uttar Pradesh: S.P. Kashyap
  29. West Bengal: Surjya Kanta Mishra[39]
  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands: K.G. Das
  2. Chandigarh : NA
  3. Daman and Diu : NA
  4. Dadra and Nagar Haveli : NA
  5. Lakshadweep: Lukmanul Hakeem
  6. National Capital Territory of Delhi: P.M.S. Grewal
  7. Puducherry: R. Rajangam

General Secretaries of CPI(M)[edit]

Article XV, Section 15 of the party constitution says:

"No person can hold the position of the General Secretary for more than three full terms. Full term means the period between two Party Congresses. In a special situation, a person who has completed three full terms as General Secretary may be re-elected for a fourth term provided it is so decided by the Central Committee with a three-fourth majority, but in no case can that person be elected again for another term in addition to the fourth term."[40]

General Secretaries[41][42]
No Photo Name Tenure
1st Sundaraiah park 2.JPG P. Sundarayya 1964–1978
2nd E. M. S. Namboodiripad.jpg E.M.S. Namboodiripad 1978–1992
3rd Surjith-3.JPG Harkishan Singh Surjeet 1992–2005
4th Prakashkarat.JPG Prakash Karat 2005–2015
5th Yechuri 1.JPG Sitaram Yechury 2015–Present

Principal mass organisations of CPI(M)[edit]

In Tripura, the Ganamukti Parishad is a major mass organisation amongst the tribal peoples of the state. In Kerala the Adivasi Kshema Samithi, a tribal organisation, is controlled by CPI(M).

State governments[edit]

As of 2018, the CPI(M) heads the state government in Kerala. Pinarayi Vijayan is Chief Minister of Kerala; the Left Front under CPI(M) ruled West Bengal for 34 years (1977–2011) and Tripura for 25 years (1993–2018)

Splits and offshoots[edit]

A large number of parties have been formed as a result of splits from the CPI(M), such as


CPI(M) election

1967 general election[edit]

1967 CPI(M) election results
  Seats won Seats contested Seats total Votes % of total vote
Lok Sabha: 19 59 520 6246522 4.28%
Elections to State Legislative Assemblies:
Andhra Pradesh 9 83 287 1053855 7.61%
Assam 0 14 126 61165 1.97%
Bihar 4 32 318 173656 1.28%
Haryana 0 8 81 16379 0.54%
Himachal Pradesh 0 6 60 3019 0.39%
Kerala 52 59 133 1476456 23.51%
Madhya Pradesh 0 9 296 20728 0.23%
Maharashtra 1 11 270 145083 1.08%
Manipur 0 5 30 2093 0.67%
Mysore 1 10 216 82531 1.10%
Orissa 1 10 140 46597 1.16%
Punjab 3 13 104 138857 3.26%
Rajasthan 0 22 184 79826 1.18%
Tamil Nadu 11 22 234 623114 4.07%
Tripura 2 16 30 93739 21.61%
Uttar Pradesh 1 57 425 272565 1.27%
West Bengal 43 135 280 2293026 18.11%

In the 1967 Lok Sabha elections, the CPI(M) nominated 59 candidates. In total 19 of them were elected; the party received 6.2 million votes (4.28% of the nationwide vote). By comparison, CPI won 23 seats and got 5.11% of the nationwide vote. In the state legislative elections held simultaneously, the CPI(M) emerged as a major party in Kerala and West Bengal. In Kerala a United Front government led by E.M.S. Namboodiripad was formed.[43] In West Bengal, the CPI(M) was the main force behind the United Front government formed; the Chief Ministership was given to Ajoy Mukherjee of the Bangla Congress (a regional splinter group of the Indian National Congress).

1971 general election[edit]

Martyrs Column in Haripad, Kerala

With the backdrop of the Bangladesh War and the emerging role of Indira Gandhi as a populist national leader, the 1971 election to the Lok Sabha was held; the CPI(M) contested 85 seats, and won in 25. In total the party mustered 7510089 votes (5.12% of the national vote). 20 of the seats came from West Bengal (including Somnath Chatterjee, elected from Burdwan), 2 from Kerala (including A.K. Gopalan, elected from Palakkad), 2 from Tripura (Biren Dutta and Dasarath Deb) and 1 from Andhra Pradesh.[44]

In the same year, state legislative elections were held in three states; West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. In West Bengal CPI(M) had 241 candidates, winning 113 seats. In total the party mustered 4241557 votes (32.86% of the statewide vote). In Tamil Nadu CPI(M) contested 37 seats, but drew blank; the party got 259298 votes (1.65% of the statewide vote). In Odisha the party contested 11 seats, and won in two; the CPI(M) vote in the state was 52785 (1.2% of the statewide vote).[45]

1977 general elections[edit]

In the 1977 Lok Sabha elections, the CPI(M) had fielded its candidates on 53 seats scattred around in 14 states and union territories of India, it won 4.29% of the average votes polled in this election. The party had won 17 seats from West Bengal, 3 from Maharashtra and one each from Orrissa and Punjab; this election was done shortly after the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi and reflected a wide uproar of masses against her draconian rule. A coalition of Opposition parties was formed against the Congress regime, CPI(M) too supported this coalition by not fielding its candidates against the Janta Party.[46]

1980 general elections[edit]

Janta Party coalition did not last much and two years after since its formation India had faced the 1980s Lok Sabha Elections; this election saw an increase in the vote percentage of CPI(M) and the party secured more seats then the previous elections. The Party had contested elections in the 15 states and union territories of India, and fielded its candidates on 64 seats; the party had won 37 seats in total. It won 28 seats in West Bengal, 7 in Kerala, and 2 seats in Tripura; the party emerged out as the whole sole representative of the people of Tripura in this election.[47]

2002 presidential elections[edit]

In the 2002 Presidential elections, Left Front announced Captain Lakshmi Sehgal as its presidential candidate. Against her was the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.[48] CPI(M)'s Leadership has announced that in form of Captain Lakshmi, they are fielding an 'Alternative Candidate', they said that though it is clear that Captain Lakshmi can't be the President of India because of the opposition of BJP led NDA and Indian National Congress to her, but through this Presidential Election Left wants to raise key national issues, and make them heard to the masses.[49] Captain Lakshmi herself had pointed out that this Presidential election reflects the opposition of the Indian Left to the Communal-Secreterian Politics of BJP and solidarity with the religious minorities who have suffered a lot under the National Democratic Alliance's leadership.[50]

2011 assembly elections[edit]

The CPI(M) led coalitions lost the assembly elections in Kerala and West Bengal. In Kerala, CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front coalition with 68 seats lost to Indian National Congress led United Democratic Front's 72 seats in a neck to neck fought assembly elections. In West Bengal, CPI(M) alliance with 62 seats suffered a setback after 34 years of continuous rule, losing to Trinamool Congress alliance's 226 seats, its Chief Minister candidate who was also the incumbent Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also lost from his Jadavpur assembly constituency.[51]

CPI(M) leader and former Chief Minister of Kerala, V.S. Achuthanandan has stated in a TV interview that Bengal defeat was "because of the deviation from party policies and because of its anti-peasant line. Though party tried to correct the mistakes, is not effective enough prevent the downturn." Former CPI(M) leader and prominent economist Ashok Mitra pointed out that the reason why Left Front got defeated in West Bengal is, among other things, the present state leaders deviated from communist policies and principles.[52] There is a criticism that Budhadeb Bhattacharya and Nirupam Sen (politician) were working as Corporate agents and was influenced by Neo-Liberal policies. CAG had earlier stated in its report that by allocating land to TATA at a subsidised rate, West Bengal govt incurred losses to the public exchequer. Former minister and CPI(M) leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah, blamed politburo members Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Nirupam Sen for the Left Front debacle in the Bengal assembly elections.[53] Wikileaks documents published in "The Hindu" newspaper revealed that Budhadeb had assured US Diplomats that if CPI(M) refused to approve neo-liberal policies the party would perish.[54] According to media reports Budhadeb rarely attended Politburo meeting.[citation needed];

2012 Vice-presidential election[edit]

While CPI(M) supported Pranab Mukherjee as presidential candidate in 2012 presidential election, it was in favour of a non-Congress candidate for the post of the Vice-President.[55]

2014 Lok Sabha election[edit]

Nine CPI(M) candidates were elected in the 2014 Indian general election, as well as two CPI(M)-supported independents; this is down from the previous number of 16. The national vote share of CPI(M) has also shrunk from 5.33% in 2009 to 3.28% in 2014. This is a 38.5% reduction within a span of 5 years which is consistent with the overall decline of the left in India.[56][57][failed verification] CPI(M) did not win a single seat in Tamil Nadu and its seats went down from 9 to 2 in West Bengal where it is being heavily eroded by Mamata Banerjee governed AITMC. Kerala is the only state where CPI(M) gained one more seat but this is mainly attributed to splitting of anti-LDF votes between the UDF and emerging NDA; the NDA saw a sharp spike in vote share in decades which came coupled with a sharp decline in UDF votes.[citation needed] Thus, it is assumed that the NDA cut into UDF votes thereby facilitating victory for LDF; this was again mirrored during the 2016 Kerala Legislative Assembly election, which saw the NDA getting entry into the State Assembly for the first time as BJP veteran O. Rajagopal wins the Nemom seat and CPI(M)'s Pinarayi Vijayan forming the LDF-ruled government.[citation needed]

General Elections 2019[edit]

The CPI(M) won only 3 of the 65 seats it contested nationwide in the 2019 General Elections. 1 seat came from Kerala where it is leading the state Government whereas 2 seats from Tamilnadu where it contested these 2 seats in a coalition with DMK & Congress as a UPA ally.

See also[edit]


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  11. ^ "Communist Party in Kerala". CPI(M). Archived from the original on 14 March 2012.
  12. ^ The bulk of the detainees came from the left wing of the CPI. However, cadres of the Socialist Unity Centre of India and the Workers Party of India were also targeted.[1] Archived 17 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ The 32 were P. Sundarayya, M. Basavapunniah, T. Nagi Reddy, M. Hanumantha Rao, D.V. Rao, N. Prasad Rao, G. Bapanayya, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, A.K. Gopalan, A.V. Kunhambu, C.H. Kanaran, E.K. Nayanar, V.S. Achuthanandan Removed, E.K. Imbichibava, Promode Das Gupta, Muzaffar Ahmad, Jyoti Basu, Abdul Halim, Hare Krishna Konar, Saroj Mukherjee, P. Ramamurthi, M.R. Venkataraman, N. Sankariah, K. Ramani, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, D.S. Tapiala, Bhag Singh, Sheo Kumar Mishra, R.N. Upadhyaya, Mohan Punamiya and R.P. Saraf. Source: Bose, Shanti Shekar; A Brief Note on the Contents of Documents of the Communist Movement in India. Kolkata: 2005, National Book Agency, p. 37.
  14. ^ a b Basu, Pradip. Towards Naxalbari (1953–1967) – An Account of Inner-Party Ideological Struggle. Calcutta: Progressive Publishers, 2000. p. 51.
  15. ^ Suniti Kumar Ghosh was a member of the group that presented this alternative draft proposal. His grouping was one of several left tendencies in the Bengali party branch. Basu, Pradip. Towards Naxalbari (1953–1967) – An Account of Inner-Party Ideological Struggle. Calcutta: Progressive Publishers, 2000. p. 32.
  16. ^ Basu, Pradip. Towards Naxalbari (1953–1967) – An Account of Inner-Party Ideological Struggle. Calcutta: Progressive Publishers, 2000. p. 52-54.
  17. ^ a b Basu, Pradip. Towards Naxalbari (1953–1967) – An Account of Inner-Party Ideological Struggle. Calcutta: Progressive Publishers, 2000. p. 54.
  18. ^ Basu, Jyoti. Memoirs – A Political Autobiography. Calcutta: National Book Agency, 1999. p. 189.
  19. ^ M.V.S. Koteswara Rao. Communist Parties and United Front – Experience in Kerala and West Bengal. [Hyderabad, India]: Prajasakti Book House, 2003. p. 17-18
  20. ^ The jailed members of the new CC, at the time of the Calcutta Congress, were B.T. Ranadive, Muzaffar Ahmed, Hare Krishna Konar and Promode Das Gupta. Source: Bose, Shanti Shekar; A Brief Note on the Contents of Documents of the Communist Movement in India. Kolkata: 2005, National Book Agency, p. 44-5.
  21. ^ M.V.S. Koteswara Rao. Communist Parties and United Front – Experience in Kerala and West Bengal.[Hyderabad, India]: Prajasakti Book House, 2003. p. 234-235.
  22. ^ According to Basu (in Basu, Pradip; Towards Naxalbari (1953–67) : An Account of Inner-Party Ideological Struggle. Calcutta: Progressive Publishers, 2000.) there were two nuclei of radicals in the party organisation in West Bengal. One "theorist" section around Parimal Das Gupta in Calcutta, which wanted to persuade the party leadership to correct revisionist mistakes through inner-party debate, and one "actionist" section led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal in North Bengal; the 'actionists' were impatient, and strived to organize armed uprisings. According to Basu, due to the prevailing political climate of youth and student rebellion it was the 'actionists' which came to dominate the new Maoist movement in India, instead of the more theoretically advanced sections; this dichotomy is however rebuffed by followers of the radical stream, for example the CPI(ML) Liberation Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ On 1 July People's Daily carried an article titled Spring Thunder Over India Archived 23 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine, expressing the support of CPC to the Naxalbari rebels. At its meeting in Madurai on 18–27 August 1967, the Central Committee of CPI(M) adopted a resolution titled 'Resolution on Divergent Views Between Our Party and the Communist Party of China on Certain Fundamental Issues of Programme and Policy'. Source: Bose, Shanti Shekar; A Brief Note on the Contents of Documents of the Communist Movement in India. Kolkata: 2005, National Book Agency, p. 46.
  24. ^ This press statement was reproduced in full in the central CPI(M) publication, People's Democracy, on 30 June. P. Sundarayya and M. Basavapunniah, acting on behalf of the Polit Bureau of CPI(M), formulated a response to the statement on 16 June, titled 'Rebuff the Rebels, Uphold Party Unity'. Source: Bose, Shanti Shekar; A Brief Note on the Contents of Documents of the Communist Movement in India. Kolkata: 2005, National Book Agency, p. 48.
  25. ^ Some perceive that the Chinese leadership severely misjudged the actual conditions of different Indian factions at the time, giving their full support to the Majumdar-Sanyal group whilst keeping the Andhra Pradesh radicals (that had a considerable mass following) at distance.
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External links[edit]