Sitaram Yechury took over as the general secretary of the CPI(M) from Prakash Karat which means the control of the Left party continued to be hands of a leader from the South. For a state like West Bengal which has remained under the rule of the Left for 34 long years, isn't it a worry that it is yet to produce a general secretary? [Yechury becomes new general secretary of the CPI(M)]
Only consolation is that Yechury is an MP from Bengal
The only consolation for Bengal's communists is that Yechury is an MP from Bengal and can speak a little bit of Bengali. Otherwise, Bengal's communists including former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee fought hard for Yechury but none had really fought for them to lead the party. [Yechury: Suave, soft-spoken & dynamic]
No Bengali has led the Communist party since the division in 1964
The last Bengali who had led the Communist Party was Ajoy Ghosh (1951-62) but that was before the days of bifurcation. Apart from PC Joshi and Harkishen Singh Surjeet, no other leader from outside South India ever became the party's general secretary, before and after the division. South India continues to dominate even the party Politburo even today.
But then why couldn't Bengal challenge South's dominance despite the CPI(M) ruling the state for over three decades? According to political analysts, the Bengal CPI(M)'s stress on mediocre leadership in Bengal during its heydays has proved to be counter-productive for the party itself.
Anil Bishwas effect has hurt Bengal communists
Anil Bishwas, the late leader of the party who had almost single-handedly cemented the rule of mediocrity in Bengal's education and political culture, it stopped the emergence of sound leadership at the national level. The result is seen even today when the South dominates East even though the latter featured more prominently in the party's journey in India's parliamentary democracy.
Bengal's slide will hurt CPI(M)'s organisation
Besides the leaders, even the CPI(M)'s summits are also held mostly in South India. Besides, Kerala dominates the party in terms of revenue flow and membership drive. Will the CPI(M) gain anything if Bengal continues to slide in terms of importance?
Yechury perhaps understand that the best. Soon after becoming the general secretary, he said he would do whatever it would require to win back people's trust in the state for it yet provides a big support to the party's organisational strength.
Bengal communists need to lead their own party before facing powerful opponents
Yechury said leaders like Mamata Banerjee still consider the Left as a threat as is seen from the words and acts of her party leaders time and again. And recent surveys have showed that the BJP, after a temporary rise, has started to lose ground to the Left, thanks to the lack of a robust leadership and organisation.
Bengal communists should first aim to lead their own party before taking on strong opponents
But isn't the South unchallenged dominance in the party a big worry for Bengal? Given the fact that the party received a serious blow in the state elections four years ago and in the last Lok Sabha election, isn't it important for Bengal's communists to show some spine and emerge as the dominant voice in their own party before aspiring to take on national leaders like Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.