The CPI(M) might be fighting the BJP tooth-and-nail across the country but there is one area which the Left party credits the ruling party and find itself lacking — attracting youth using modern technology tools and social media.
Bringing young faces to the party has been reiterated in discussions over the years and it has been done once again during the review of the Lok Sabha election results this time too.
Analysing the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the CPI(M) continues to lament its appeal among youth “continues to be restricted” and points out that the “major way to reach this youth” has been through the social media and modern technological communication tools. “Despite the record high unemployment levels, we are not able to draw youth into militant actions,” the review says.
It credited the BJP for “successfully” utilising these tools to spread its message and influence the youth and insists that the CPI(M) should “urgently address” it.
Overall, the party’s ‘Review of 17th Lok Sabha Elections’ point out and identifies among its tasks, “in all the states and at the national level, a broad-based effort must be undertaken to utilize all available technological tools and devices, including social media, in order to strengthen the network of electronic communication at all levels of the party…Must incorporate urgently modern communication methods and tools in the Party’s day-to-day work.”
It also said the party must draw large sections of youth who have participated in election campaigns into mass organisations and these new sections and activists
among them must be recruited into the Party.
On the question of youth participation, the review report adopted by the CPI(M) Central Committee says that the party had earlier decided on measures to address and overcome the issue related to the participation of youth but “clearly, either they have not been implemented, or, they have not succeeded”.
It identifies neo-liberalism as imposing conditions leading to the depoliticisation of youth.
“Privatization of education has led to a ban on political activities amongst students in private educational institutions. In the government universities, colleges and schools, the democratic right of the students to have their students’ union elections has been severely restricted all across the country. The phenomenal growth of tutorial colleges debarring political activity has ensured that crores of youngsters are separated from acquiring any political consciousness,” the report says.
While acknowledging its inability to attract youth despite high joblessness, the report identifies that the major way to reach this youth has been through social media. “Our Party should urgently address this issue and adopt necessary measures, both at the national and state levels,” it said.
Asked about youth representation in the party, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury recently said that it was one of the priority areas and the efforts in this direction would be reviewed in the coming days.
In 2015 Kolkata Plenum, the CPI(M) has said, “the ageing of Party cadres is another serious issue. Many state committees have noted that the Party is not able to attract wholetimers from students and youth. This has a wide-ranging adverse impact on the functioning of the Party. There should be a retirement policy and retirement benefits for the wholetimers worked out in each state.”
It had said the youth composition of the membership (below 31 years) in strong states like Kerala was 22.7%, Telangana 25% and Andhra Pradesh 24.6% has been satisfactory while Tripura needs to improve its age composition with below 31 years category being 18.3%. In West Bengal, the Plenum report had said the youth composition is unsatisfactory with 13.5% young members.