Communist Party of India

Published 14th April, 2014

The Communist Party of India or CPI was founded on 26th December 1925. The party is Far-left and believes in Communism.

The symbol of the party is an Ear of Corn and Sickle and its colour is Red.

In the early years, because Communism was banned by the British colonial authorities the party was badly organised and very much an underground movement. It wasn’t until July 1942 that the CPI was legalised and in 1946 the party was able to contest Provincial Legislative Assembly elections. They won eight seats, three of which were in Bengal.

After independence the party was involved in armed struggles, especially in Tripura, Telangana and Kerala. Eventually they were controlling a large swathe of the three states until their rebellion was crushed. But by 1951 the CPI had 16 seats in the Lok Sabha and in 1957 that grew to 27 seats (they also won control of Kerala that year). The party reached its peak in 1962 when it won 29 of the 494 Lok Sabha seats.

In 1962 the Sino-Indian War led to a serious split in the party, with one faction supporting India and another faction supporting a socialist state over a capitalist state. From there the ideological rift grew and in 1964 two party conferences were held and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) was founded.

The split was reflected in election results; in 1967 the CPI dropped back to 23 seats, something they managed to repeat in 1971, but in 1977 they were down to seven seats. Since then their best result was 14 seats in 1991. In 2009 they managed to win just four seats.

In the states the CPI is active in many states but especially In West Bengal, Manipur, Kerala, Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The CPI has supported the Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance but has never formally joined a UPA government.

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

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