Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Published 14th April, 2014

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) was founded in 1964 after an ideological split favouring a more radical left orientation from the Communist Party of India (CPI). The party describes itself as Left-wing and believes in Communism and Marxism–Leninism.

The symbol of the party is the Hammer, Sickle and Star and its colour is Red.

After its split from the Communist Party of India the party took a more pro-Chinese approach, but it split from China in 1968. Support for the party comes mainly from West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura where it has a significant presence.

In 1977 the party won West Bengal and Jyoti Basu became Chief Minister. The party held the state for 34 years until 2011. In Kerala the CPI-M has played the pendulum game with the Indian National Congress; the CPI-M lost Kerala in 2001, won it back as part of the Left Democratic Front in 2006 and lost it once more in 2011, but it remains one of the main players in the state. In Tripura the CPI-M has run the state from 1980 apart from two terms (1989 – 1996) when the state was in the hands of the Indian national Congress (INC). Currently the CPI-M holds 49 of the 60 seats in Tripura.

The concentration of CPI-M support in just three states caused the Election Commission of India to de-recognise the party as a national party in 2001.

In general elections to the Lok Sabha the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has outclassed the Communist Party of India in every election since 1967. In that first election it won 19 seats, that went up to 25 seats in 1971 and it reached its zenith in 2004 when the CPI-M won 43 seats in the 543 seat Lok Sabha. In the 2009 general election the party dropped backed to its lowest number of seats when it managed to win just 16 seats in the Lok Sabha.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is affiliated to the International Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties.

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