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Communist Party of India (CPI)

President: S. Sudhakar Reddy

Basic Info

About,Communist Party Of India

The Communist Party of India (CPI) is a communist party in India. In the Indian Communist movement, there are different views on exactly when the Communist Party of India was founded. But the date maintained as the foundation day by the CPI is 26 December 1925.However, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which separated from the CPI, has a different version that it was founded in 1920.

Formation Of CPI

The Communist Party of India has officially stated that it was formed on 25 December 1925 at the first Party Conference in Kanpur. But as per the version of CPI(M), the Communist Party of India was founded in Tashkent, Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on 17 October 1920, soon after the Second Congress of the Communist International.

The founding members of the party were M.N. Roy, Evelyn Trent Roy (Roy's wife), Abani Mukherji, Rosa Fitingof (Abani's wife), Mohammad Ali (Ahmed Hasan), Mohammad Shafiq Siddiqui, Rafiq Ahmed of Bhopal and M.P.B.T. Aacharya, and Sultan Ahmed Khan Tarin of North-West Frontier Province.

The CPI says that there were many communist groups formed by Indians with the help of foreigners in different parts of the world and the Tashkent group was only one of. contacts with Anushilan and Jugantar groups in Bengal.

Small communist groups were formed in Bengal (led by Muzaffar Ahmed), Bombay (led by S.A. Dange), Madras (led by Singaravelu Chettiar), United Provinces (led by Shaukat Usmani) and Punjab and Sindh (led by Ghulam Hussain). However, only Usmani became a CPI party member.

During the 1920s and the early 1930s the party was badly organised, and in practice there were several communist groups working with limited national coordination. The British colonial authorities had banned all communist activity, which made the task of building a united party very difficult. Between 1921 and 1924 there were three conspiracy trials against the communist movement; First Peshawar Conspiracy Case, Meerut Conspiracy Case and the Cawnpore Bolshevik Conspiracy Case.
 
In the first three cases, Russian-trained muhajir communists were put on trial. However, the Cawnpore trial had more political impact. On 17 March 1924, M.N. Roy, S.A. Dange, Muzaffar Ahmed, Nalini Gupta, Shaukat Usmani, Singaravelu Chettiar, Ghulam Hussain and R.C. Sharma were charged, in Cawnpore (now spelt Kanpur) Bolshevik Conspiracy case.
 
The specific pip charge was that they as communists were seeking "to deprive the King Emperor of his sovereignty of British India, by complete separation of India from imperialistic Britain by a violent revolution." Pages of newspapers daily splashed sensational communist plans and people for the first time learned, on such a large scale, about communism and its doctrines and the aims of the Communist International in India.
 
Singaravelu Chettiar was released on account of illness. M.N. Roy was in Germany and R.C. Sharma in French Pondichéry, and therefore could not be arrested. Ghulam Hussain confessed that he had received money from the Russians in Kabul and was pardoned.
 
Muzaffar Ahmed, Nalini Gupta, Shaukat Usmani and Dange were sentenced for various terms of imprisonment. This case was responsible for actively introducing communism to a larger Indian audience.Dange was released from prison in 1927.
 
The sixth congress of the Communist International met in 1928. In 1927 the Kuomintang had turned on the Chinese communists, which led to a review of the policy on forming alliances with the national bourgeoisie in the colonial countries.
 
The Colonial theses of the 6th Comintern congress called upon the Indian communists to combat the 'national-reformist leaders' and to 'unmask the national reformism of the Indian National Congress and oppose all phrases of the Swarajists, Gandhists, etc. about passive resistance'.
 
The congress did however differentiate between the character of the Chinese Kuomintang and the Indian Swarajist Party, considering the latter as neither a reliable ally nor a direct enemy. The congress called on the Indian communists to utilize the contradictions between the national bourgeoisie and the British imperialists.
 
The congress also denounced the WPP. The Tenth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, 3 July 1929 – 19 July 1929, directed the Indian communists to break with WPP. When the communists deserted it, the WPP fell apart.
 
In July 1937, the first Kerala unit of CPI was founded at a clandestine meeting in Calicut. Five persons were present at the meeting, P. Krishna Pillai E.M.S. Namboodiripad, N.C. Sekhar, K. Damodaran and S.V. Ghate. The first four were members of the CSP in Kerala. The latter, Ghate, was a CPI Central Committee member, who had arrived from Madras.
 
Contacts between the CSP in Kerala and the CPI had begun in 1935, when P. Sundarayya (CC member of CPI, based in Madras at the time) met with EMS and Krishna Pillai. Sundarayya and Ghate visited Kerala at several times and met with the CSP leaders there. The contacts were facilitated through the national meetings of the Congress, CSP and All India Kisan Sabha.
 
In 1936–1937, the cooperation between socialists and communists reached its peak. At the 2nd congress of the CSP, held in Meerut in January 1936, a thesis was adopted which declared that there was a need to build 'a united Indian Socialist Party based on Marxism-Leninism'.
 
At the 3rd CSP congress, held in Faizpur, several communists were included into the CSP National Executive Committee.
 
 

Party Description

CPI In Indian Politics

During the period around and directly following Independence in 1947, the internal situation in the party was chaotic. The party shifted rapidly between left-wing and right-wing positions. In February 1948, at the 2nd Party Congress in Calcutta, B. T. Ranadive (BTR) was elected General Secretary of the party.The conference adopted the 'Programme of Democratic Revolution'. This programme included the first mention of struggle against caste injustice in a CPI document.
 
In several areas the party led armed struggles against a series of local monarchs that were reluctant to give up their power. Such insurgencies took place in Tripura, Telangana and Kerala.[citation needed] The most important rebellion took place in Telangana, against the Nizam of Hyderabad.
 
The Communists built up a people's army and militia and controlled an area with a population of three million. The rebellion was brutally crushed and the party abandoned the policy of armed struggle. BTR was deposed and denounced as a 'left adventurist'.
 
In Manipur, the party became a force to reckon with through the agrarian struggles led by Jananeta Irawat Singh. Singh had joined CPI in 1946.At the 1951 congress of the party, 'People's Democracy' was substituted by 'National Democracy' as the main slogan of the party.
 
In the Travancore-Cochin Legislative Assembly election, 1952, Communist Party was banned, so couldn't take part in the election process.In the general elections in 1957, the CPI emerged as the largest opposition party. In 1957, the CPI won the state elections in Kerala. This was the first time that an opposition party won control over an Indian state. E. M. S. Namboodiripad became Chief Minister. At the 1957 international meeting of Communist parties in Moscow, the Communist Party of China directed criticism at the CPI for having formed a ministry in Kerala.
 
Ideological differences lead to the split in the party in 1964 when two different party conferences were held, one of CPI and one of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). There is a common misconception that the rift during Sino-Indian war lead to the 1962 split.
 
In fact, the split was leftists vs rightists, rather than internationalists vs nationalists.The presence of nationalists in CPI, and internationalists P. Sundarayya, Jyoti Basu, and Harkishan Singh Surjeet in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) proves this fact.
 
During the period 1970–77, CPI was allied with the Congress party. In Kerala, they formed a government together with Congress, with the CPI-leader C. Achutha Menon as Chief Minister. After the fall of the regime of Indira Gandhi, CPI reoriented itself towards cooperation with CPI(M).
 
In 1986, the CPI's leader in the Punjab and MLA in the Punjabi legislature Darshan Singh Canadian was assassinated by Sikh extremists. Then on 19 May 1987, Deepak Dhawan, General Secretary of Punjab CPI(M), was murdered. Altogether about 200 communist leaders out of which most were Sikhs were killed by Sikh extremists in Punjab.
 

Current Political Situation Of CPi

CPI was recognised by the Election Commission of India as a 'National Party'. To date, CPI happens to be the only national political party from India to have contested all the general elections using the same electoral symbol.
 
On the national level they supported the Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government along with other parliamentary Left parties, but without taking part in it. Upon attaining power in May 2004, the United Progressive Alliance formulated a programme of action known as the Common Minimum Programme. The Left bases its support to the UPA on strict adherence to it. Provisions of the CMP mentioned to discontinue disinvestment, massive social sector outlays and an independent foreign policy.
 
On 8 July 2008, Prakash Karat, General Secretary of CPI(M) announced that the Left was withdrawing its support over the decision by the government to go ahead with the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act. The Left parties combination had been a staunch advocate of not proceeding with this deal citing national interests.
 
In West Bengal it participates in the Left Front. It also participated in the state government in Manipur. In Kerala the party is part of Left Democratic Front. In Tripura the party is a partner of the governing Left Front, having a minister. In Tamil Nadu it is part of the Progressive Democratic Alliance. It is involved in the Left Democratic Front in Maharashtra.
 
The current general secretary of CPI is S. Sudhakar Reddy.

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