Indian People's Front

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The Indian People's Front was a political organisation in India, active between 1982 and 1994. It functioned as an open, mass front of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, and contested national and state elections.

Its leadership included Nagbhushan Patnaik as president [1] and Dipankar Bhattacharya as general secretary.[2] Dr. Jayanta Rongpi, leader of the Autonomous State Demand Committee of the Karbi Anglong District and Lok Sabha member, was a member of the IPF Central Committee.[3]


IPF was launched in 1982 as an open, non-party, mass organisation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation.[4] A founding conference was held in Delhi April 24–26, 1982, organized by the CPI(ML)Liberation, in which the Nagbhushan Patnaik and Chandra Pulla Reddy factions participated.[5][6] Vinod Mishra, the CPI(ML)Liberation general secretary, was largely the architect behind the idea of building the IPF, through which the then underground CPI(ML)Liberation could develop links to other democratic forces on the basis of a popular, democratic and patriotic programme.[4]

The IPF sought to present itself as a "national alternative".[6] Initially IPF had been projected as a united front of different revolutionary groups, but most other factions dropped out in the formation process and IPF effectively became a mass organisation of CPI(ML)Liberation.[7] The Satyanarayan Singh faction publicly denounced and ridiculed the notion of IPF becoming a "national alternative".[6]

IPF organised a mass rally against the Bihar Press Bill on October 15, 1982. According to mainstream media sources, over 100,000 people took part in the rally.[8]

Second conference

The IPF held its second conference in Calcutta on November 4–6, 1984, in the midst of the chaos following the assassination of Indira Gandhi.[5]

1985 elections in Bihar

IPF contested 49 seats in the Bihar legislative assembly elections in 1985. It failed to win any seats.[9]

Arwal massacre

In April 1986 more than one dozen Scheduled Caste labourers were killed by police in Arwal, Jehanabad District in Bihar. In August IPF organised a militant gherao protest at the Bihar legislative assembly in Patna in protest of the massacre. The protest marked a new phase in the development of the movement.[5]

Women's and Workers' Conventions

In 1986 IPF organised a National Convention of Women in Calcutta. Around 1000 people participated in the open rally at the convention. The convention was historic in that it marked a meeting point of feminists and Marxists, and in a speech to the convention the president of the IPF Women's Cell declared that Marxism and feminism were not antagonistic but complementary ideologies.[10]

In November 1987 IPF organised an All-India Workers Convention in Ambernath, near Bombay. Trade union leader Datta Samant was the main speaker at the convention.[5]

1989 & 1990 elections and Mandal struggle

IPF won a Lok Sabha seat from western Bihar, the Arrah constituency, in the 1989 parliamentary election.[9] Rameshwar Prasad was the IPF parliamentarian from Arrah.[11] In 1990 the organisation was able to win seven seats in the Bihar legislative assembly. IPF finished second in 14 constituencies.[9] IPF had been able to win over a large share of the Scheduled Caste voters from the Indian National Congress in Bihar. IPF voiced support for implementation of the recommendation of the Mandal Commission, and also supported V.P. Singh's position to amend a 10% quota for economically weak sectors from upper castes. The IPF wanted reservations to be based on socio-economical factos.[12]

Dam Bandho, Kaam Do

IPF also launched campaigns against price hikes and for the right to work, adopting a traditional leftist discourse.[13] An All-India rally in Delhi with the slogan Dam Bandho, Kaam Do ('Check Prices, Give Jobs') was held on October 8, 1990.[5] In the same month, the IPF organised a massive display of strength as it held a mass rally in Patna, one of the largest rallies ever seen in the capital city.[9]


The IPF lost its Lok Sabha seat in the 1991 parliamentary election, losing about a fifth of its votes compared to 1989 (having contested 15 Lok Sabha seats). The IPF suffered a severe blow when four of its Bihar legislative assembly members defected to Laloo Prasad Yadav, at the height of polarisation around the Mandal issue.[9]

On February 14, 1992, 14 Scheduled Caste landless labourers and followers of IPF were killed by the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh in Tikshora village near Patna.[14]

In 1992 IPF won a seat in the Punjab legislative assembly election. IPF candidate Surjan Singh Joga won the Joga assembly seat.[15]

Samajik Partivarthan Rally

On March 18, 1994 IPF organised the 'Samajik Parivarthan Rally' (Social Change Rally) in Patna. Tens of thousands of bare-footed, starving workers marched to Patna; some had traveled over 100 kilometers on foot to reach the venue. At the time political observers talked about the IPF as the fastest growing leftist movement in India.[9]


IPF was dissolved in 1994.[5] From 1995 the CPI(ML)Liberation began contesting elections on its own, substituting the role of IPF.[4][9]


The Bihar Jhuggi-Jhopri Bashi Sangha (BJJBS), an organization of slum dwellers in Patna, was a major affiliate of IPF in Bihar.[8] The popular anti-liquor movement in Uttarakhand was also a constituent of IPF from the founding conference.[5]


  1. ^ United States. JPRS Report. Near East & South Asia. [Arlington, Va.?]: Foreign Broadcast Information Service, 1987. p. 50
  2. ^ Attar Chand. President Shankar Dayal Sharma, the Scholar and the Statesman. New Delhi, India: Anmol Publications, 1992. p. 128
  3. ^ Dutta, Madhusree, Flavia, and Neera Adarkar. The Nation, the State, and Indian Identity. Calcutta: Samya, 1996. p. 129
  4. ^ a b c Sen, Arindam. The Life of Vinod Mishra Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation. 30 years of CPI(ML) Archived February 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ a b c Karat, Prakash. Naxalism Today; At an Ideological Deadend. The Marxist, Volume: 3, No. 1, January- March 1985
  7. ^ Omvedt, Gail. Reinventing Revolution: New Social Movements and the Socialist Tradition in India. London; Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1993. p. 163
  8. ^ a b Joshi, Barbara R. Untouchable! Voices of the Dalit Liberation Movement. Women in the Third World. London: Zed Books, 1986. pp. 101-102
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Nedumpara, Jose J. Political Economy and Class Contradictions: A Study. New Delhi: Anmol Publications, 2004. p. 114
  10. ^ Omvedt, Gail. Reinventing Revolution: New Social Movements and the Socialist Tradition in India. London; Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1993. pp. 207-208
  11. ^ Nedumpara, Jose J. Political Economy and Class Contradictions: A Study. New Delhi: Anmol Publications, 2004. p. 5
  12. ^ National Seminar on "Uttar Pradesh in the 1990s: Critical Perspectives", and Sudha Pai. Political Process in Uttar Pradesh: Identity, Economic Reforms, and Governance. New Delhi: Pearson Longman, 2007. p. 168
  13. ^ Omvedt, Gail. Reinventing Revolution: New Social Movements and the Socialist Tradition in India. London; Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1993. p. 233
  14. ^ Nedumpara, Jose J. Political Economy and Class Contradictions: A Study. New Delhi: Anmol Publications, 2004. p. 120
  15. ^ Aggarwal, J. C., and S. P. Agrawal. Modern History of Punjab: A Look Back into Ancient Peaceful Punjab Focusing Confrontation and Failures Leading to Present Punjab Problem, and a Peep Ahead : Relevant Select Documents. Concepts in communication informatics & librarianship, 37. New Delhi: Concept Pub. Co, 1992. p. 192
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