"Alienation of the people because of bossism" by some Left leaders and cadres and erosion of the mass base were also responsible for the poor showing of the Left at the hustings, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan told a press conference after a meeting of the CPI National Council in New Delhi.
Besides the failure of a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party alternative and the timing of the Left's withdrawal of support to the United Progressive Alliance were also the reasons.
"There has been an erosion of existing bases and new bases have not come up. ... It is our National Council's view that the Left Front in Bengal and Kerala have not functioned properly as a Front," Bardhan said.
"The approach towards the people by Left leaders was not an approach which can be called a communist approach. There was alienation of the people because of bossism by some people," he added.
Describing the general election results as a "big lesson," he however said "the setback is temporary" and the new challenges posed by the UPA government now would provide "great opportunities" for the Left to mobilise the people.
Despite differences, the unity among these parties "will remain and will be strengthened," he asserted.
Asked whether infighting between top CPI-M leaders V S Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan would affect the functioning of the ruling Left Democratic Front in Kerala, Bardhan said "it is happening."
But the CPI-M would have to decide "how this fight should be resolved. "CPI-M is discussing this seriously. A solution has to be found by them that will ensure that the people regain full confidence in the LDF," he said.
To a question whether he would blame CPI-M for lack of proper functioning of LF and LDF in West Bengal and Kerala, Bardhan said, "Whichever is the largest party, it is its responsibility to ensure proper functioning of the front. ... The front has to be run collectively. Instead of that, .... there was unilateral functioning."
"Obviously, the RSP (Revolutionary Socialist Party) and the Forward Bloc or the CPI cannot be blamed" for lack of proper functioning of the ruling Left Fronts," he added, indicating that CPI-M was primarily responsible.
Asked whether CPI would continue its relations with CPI-M in this context, he said, "I think future relations will be based on two issues -- drawing proper lessons for the setback by all the four Left parties and on the basis of equality, mutual discussion, mutual respect and collective decisions. These are all important issues."
Regarding withdrawal of support on the Indo-US nuclear deal, the CPI leader said, "Withdrawal of support was imminent and unavoidable.... But it should have been earlier as it would have given us more time to go to the people and explain our stand."