The CPI(M) was formed at the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of India held in Calcutta from October 31 to November 7, 1964. The CPI(M) was born in the struggle against revisionism and sectarianism in the communist movement at the international and national level, in order to defend the scientific and revolutionary tenets of Marxism-Leninism and its appropriate application in the concrete Indian conditions. The CPI(M) combines the fine heritage of the anti-imperialist struggle and the revolutionary legacy of the undivided Communist Party which was founded in 1920. Over the years, the Party has emerged as the foremost Left force in the country.
The CPI(M) has grown steadily since its formation in 1964. The membership of the Party, which was 118,683 at the time of its formation, has grown to 10,44,833 in 2011. The Party has sought to independently apply Marxism-Leninism to Indian conditions and to work out the strategy and tactics for a people's democratic revolution, which can transform the lives of the Indian people. The CPI(M) is engaged in bringing about this basic transformation by carrying out a programme to end imperialist, big bourgeois and landlord exploitation. The CPI(M) as the leading Left party is committed to build a Left and democratic front which can present a real alternative to the existing bourgeois-landlord policies.
In the last few elections, contesting on an average 15 percent of the total seats, the CPI(M) has been getting around 5-6 percent of the votes. (India follows the “first past the post” system and not proportional representation) In the 2009 elections to the Lok Sabha (lower house of the Indian Parliament) the CPI(M) won 16 seats. The Lower House of Parliament has a strength of 543. In the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) the CPI(M) has 11 members.
The CPI(M) is heading one state government. The Left Front government headed by the CPI(M) was uninterruptedly in power in West Bengal since 1977 upto May 2011. In Kerala, it has been in and out of office. Currently, the Left Democratic Front headed by the CPI(M) is in opposition. In Tripura, the CPI(M) was first elected to office in 1977. Though it lost the subsequent election due to large scale rigging, in all elections since 1988 it has been voted to office. Though uneven, the CPI(M) has representation in eight state legislative assemblies.