Year of elections and promises. Also time of mergers and divorces of political parties. How about looking at a bit of history of pone such divorce?
EPW has this commentary picked from its archives of Apr-1964, the year when CPI broke into CPI and CPI (M)..
Arthur Koestler was wrong: the ultimate battle will not be between the communists and the ex-communists. From the way things are going it now seems that in that final of all confrontations, the backdrop will be severely intra-mural — it will in fact be the communists who will be fighting the other communists; and there could be no nastier battle.
From all angles it is a sorry spectacle. Developments over the last few days indicate that the split in the Communist Party of India is almost inevitable. Holding press conferences to run down one’s comrades, accusations and counter-accusations, prompt repudiation of pronouncements made by some leaders by other ones, add up to a sickening array of distasteful events. Clearly, whether or not the formal split comes at next week’s meeting of the National Council, CPI has already ceased to function as an organised political entry. And yet this is the party which till the other day was known for its iron cohesion and rigorous internal discipline.
There is no question that the break-up of the CPI would grievously affect the growth of the Indian polity, and is to be regretted on that score alone.
Has the narrative changed? Not at all..One could easily replace CPI with AAP:
The PSP has all but withered away, while Dr Lohia’s Socialists are too often given to aberration to be seriously considered as a category of the Left. With the Swatantra Party and the Jan Sangh crying hoopla on the Right, the balance of political forces in the country all of a sudden seems dangerously tilted in one direction. Given the reality that even within the Congress the conservative elements far outweigh those with overt socialist convictions, one can hardly dispute the need for a strong and stable party of the Left. A political democracy, after all, can survive and progress via the dialectics of balancing tensions. If the CPI cannot be cured of its schadenfreude no recognizable force will remain on the Left to challenge the propositions of the Right. Such an imbalance, for all one knows, might lead to a chain of unwholesome consequences. Neither the Jan Sangh nor the Swatantra Party can be fitted into a theme of progress: the Sangh’s political doctrines are quasi-fascist, while the Swatantra Party’s economic pronouncements are altogether innocent of the twentieth century context. The country’s economic future as well as political integrity would be seriously compromised if the only challenges the Congress is exposed to were represented by these two parties.
Those who do not recall the history…why the split?
one faction being desperately anxious to follow the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in analysing issues of international relations and in assessing the internal role of the Congress Government, while the opposing faction is equally determined to reject these ‘lines’ and to adopt, on these questions, points of view very similar to those propounded by the Communist Parties of China and Indonesia. It would seem that both the factions are fearful of losing international connections, and in a way the current worsening of intra-Party relations reflects the fact that, externally, in their squabble the Soviet and Chinese Parties are fast reaching the point of no return. One need not, and, on the basis of past record, should not, question the patriotism of Indian communists; but one can certainly castigate them for their inferiority complex, and can also deride them for the poor quality of their native wisdom.
By scuttling the party Communists of both hues are losing a lot. They will be splintering their organization; the goodwill they have accumulated over the years among the peasants and the workers, as also among the intellectuals and the middle class would be lost; and general frustration with the Left which the split would generate would do neither the warring factions nor the nation as a whole any good. It can also be hardly doubted that, for the next few years, a major part of their organizational skill and energy would be spent on efforts to whittle each other down, and only the residual would be available to propagate the ideology and the programme.