Mumbai: Two men can save the Communist Party of India (Marxists) from losing the national status.
They are Independent MPs from Kerala and part of a gamble that the party took before elections to prop up their boat if it sank.
And it has sunk. Not only has the party won the lowest seats, 9, since its formation in 1964, it now faces being derecognised by the Election Commission for failing to meet the criteria that gives the party national status.
Dreading a bad show, the CPI(M) had gambled to put up five Independent candidates from Ernakulam, Idukki, Chalakkudy, Pathanamthitta and Ponnani. Innocent from Chalakkudy and Joice George from Idukki have won. And just about make up the numbers!
To get national status, a party must have 11 MPs in Parliament from at least 3 states, or secure at least six per cent of total votes polled in four states and win four seats in the Lok Sabha elections.
There is a third criteria too — to be recognised as a state party in at least four states.
This time, it even failed to cash in on the anti-Congress wave, getting five to Congress’ 8 MPs in Kerala. The other four are two each from West Bengal and Tripura. In 2009, the party had nine MPs from Bengal.
Needless to say, faces in the CPI(M) rank are now redder than their party flags.
Given the historic low the CPI(M) has hit, there are questions why this complete embarrassment is not triggering any sort of leadership debate.
The party Central Committee meets in the first week of June to examine the past and sort out a future.