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Left Parties Fighting to Regain Lost Ground

by IT Web Admin
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Imphal, Feb. 21: Once a force to reckon with in Manipur politics, the CPI and the CPI(M) are fighting the Assembly election to regain their lost ground in the State. Manipur has a long history of Left movement, under the leadership of such legendary leaders like Hijam Irabot Singh commonly known as “jana neta Hijam” but this time the Left parties are fighting hard to make their presence felt.
The on-going insurgency and ethnic conflict seems to have taken a heavy toll on the communist parties, which believe in the ideology of class struggle. The CPI and the CPI(M), along with other secular and like-minded parties, have formed a front called the Left and Democratic Front (LDF).
The front also has an electoral adjustment with the National People’s Party. Altogether they are fighting in 50 seats in the 60-member Assembly. The CPI, which is dominant among the Left forces, conceded that they are fighting to rebuild the once glorious Left movement.
“Once we were quite a big force in the State. We had a considerable number of seats and had played a decisive role in State government formation. But those are things of the past. We have to rebuild from scratch. We are fighting to regain our lost ground in the State with the help of other secular and democratic forces,” M. Nara Singh, CPI State secretary and LDF convener, said.
Mr. Nara Singh’s view was echoed by senior State CPI(M) leader Santo, who feels that the Left had lost its ground as it could not build a movement in the State where politics is driven by ethnicity. He blamed money and muscle power as one of the biggest problems for the Left. “We follow the principle of class struggle. And it was based on this that we had built our movement. But a few wrong decisions and conflict driven by ethnic identity had taken a toll on us,” Mr. Santo said.
Such was once the clout of the CPI, that with five seats in its kitty it played a major role in the ascension of Congress to power in 2002 led by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. The first Congress government in 2002 was known as a Congress-CPI coalition called the Secular Progressive Front (SPF).

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