HYDERABAD: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has kept the door open for closer coordination with Congress Party in the fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the coming Lok Sabha elections with the party adopting a crucial amendment to its political resolution in the 22nd party congress here on April 20.
The amendment that replaced the words “without having an understanding with the Congress” with “without having an alliance with the Congress Party” facilitates the party to cooperate with the biggest opposition party both in the Parliament and outside.
This is considered as a huge victory for general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who consistently maintained that the draft political resolution ruling out any truck with the Congress would help only the communal forces.
Yechury’s line was voted out in the party’s central committee meeting at Kolkata in January this year by 55-32 votes. However, he went for a big gamble by presenting his alternate line along with the official draft resolution moved by former general secretary Prakash Karat.
The issue clinched in his favour when a large number of delegates backed amendments proposed by members from different states, including senior leader and former Kerala chief minister V S Achuthanandan. The Karat faction mellowed its stand when the demand for secret ballot instead of the usual show of hands gained momentum.
Considering the overwhelming support for the amendments, the politburo agreed on a consensus to avoid the embarrassment of a vote. Political observers said that this is the first time since CPM was formed in 1964 that a draft political resolution approved by the central committee has been amended.
This has averted a possible split in the party. When his alternate line was rejected by the central committee, Yechury has offered to resign. However, he was persuaded to continue till the party congress. With the adoption of his line by the party congress, Yechury’s prospects to be re-elected as the general secretary has brightened.
Though Karat camp had propped up former Tripura CM Manik Sarkar, politburo member Brinda Karat and secretary B V Raghavulu for the post, they are likely to withdraw from the race in the light of the victory to Yechury’s line. The party constitution normally allows a general secretary three terms.
The CPM congress decision to adopt Yechury’s political formulation will have implications for the unity of the opposition parties against BJP. Since the resolution will guide the roadmap that the party will follow for the next three years it may have its impact in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll and assembly elections in several major states, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, where the Congress is the principal enemy of the BJP.
CPM watchers say the new political line will allow the party to prevent a split in anti-BJP votes in places where the CPM is weak. Currently the party is in power only in Kerala.
The Kerala unit has been opposing adjustments with the Congress since it is its main rival in the state. The party leaders feared that a such an understanding would help the BJP, which has been increasing its footprint across the state steadily over the years.
Yechury had countered this saying that the party could not take a political line for the entire country based on one state or one group. “Congress may be CPM's direct enemy in Kerala but it is not the case in rest of the country. Political line is adopted on the basis of the general situation prevailing in the country,” he said.
Yechury told the Kerala leaders during the state conference in February that the CPM was snot what they perceive in Kerala. He said that the party cannot reduce the CPM as the Communist Party of Kerala Marxist.
The new development may help the Kerala unit to avoid a confrontation with the Communist Party of India (CPI), the second largest constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the state, which is firm on its stand for an understanding with the Congress.
The decision may also help the CPM to woo back the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSS) and the Forward Block, which deserted the Left camp and joined the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala. However, how the state leadership can come to terms with the new reality has to be waited and seen.
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