CPI-M worried over failure to attract the young

March 31st, 2008 - 2:20 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)
By Liz Mathew
Coimbatore, March 31 (IANS) With Communism losing its appeal worldwide, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is worried over its growing failure to attract younger men and women into its ranks. In a self-critical organisational report, the country’s dominant Communist party is urging its activists to focus on inducting more youngsters, women, Dalits, tribals and also Muslims.

At 19th party congress under way here, the report has expressed grave concern over dipping membership. But what is bothering it more is its inability to attract more youngsters into its fold.

“The party should recruit young cadre from states and districts and deploy them in areas where it is weak,” the report says.

It also asks its cadres to induct more women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities but sounds a caution: “The selection and promotion of cadres should be strictly on the basis of his or her political organisational capacity and performance.”

In the report, yet to be made public, the CPI-M has done a detailed self-assessment.

It says the percentage of party members nationally up to the age of 30 years is 16.77 percent, between 31 and 40 years 29.31, between 41 and 50 years 31.77, between 51 and 60 years 13.79 and between 61 to 70 years is 6.82 percent.

This is despite the fact that 35 percent of members were recruited after 2002. “More efforts should be made to recruit youths,” it says.

Although the CPI-M claims to be champion of the weaker and the downtrodden, only 19.93 percent of party members were Dalits and tribals constitute only 6.43 percent.

In states like Kerala, one of the three strongholds of the CPI-M, the percentage of Dalit members actually came down from 15.86 percent in 2004 to 14.97 percent last year.

Members belonging to the working class constitute 32.36 percent, followed by farm workers (23.76), poor peasants (18.93), middle peasants (10.5), rich peasants (0.59), middle class (11.46) and landlords constituted 0.08 percent.

The CPI-M is also concerned about the low number of Muslims joining the party.

Although Muslims vote for the party in Kerala and West Bengal in large numbers, the support is not translating into party members, the report says.

Muslims constitute 10.22 percent of party members.

While Kerala showed a marginal increase in Muslim membership (9.44 percent in 2004 to 10.35 in 2007), in West Bengal it fell to 14.67 percent from 14.9 in 2004.

Women constitute 11.93 percent of members. The report says that 2.69 percent of party members are postgraduates and 10.06 percent graduates.

The report also criticises local units for failing to collect the customary levy from its members.

“Some committees failed to collect levy from members as fixed by the central committee. There are also reports that a section of party members are giving false information about their income to give less levy than is due,” it says.

“The payment of levy is a matter related to the political-organisational consciousness of the party member. The state committees should take appropriate steps to collect levy from members.”

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