HYDERABAD: With differences in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) over electoral adjustments with the Congress widening at the 22nd party congress now in session here, voting has become unavoidable for adopting the political resolution.
Voting has become necessary with party members from across the country moving amendments to the draft political solution presented by former party general secretary Prakash Karat. Most of the proposed changes are on whether the CPM should join hands with "all secular, democratic forces", including the Congress.
A key amendment is declaration of Bharatiya Janata Party as a fascist party. It was moved by Kerala veteran V S Achuthanandan, who consistently backed the alternate line presented by current party chief Sitaram Yechury. The amendment is significant since Karat has refused to dub the BJP as a fascist party.
The former Kerala chief minister argued that the very foundation of the BJP was fascist and added that a unity of all secular and democratic parties was a must to fight the ruling party. Achuthanandan said that the Karat line will only help the BJP.
With the voting becoming a necessity, the only question to be decided whether it should be secret or open. The draft political resolution presented at the triennial meet was adopted through open voting. The resolution moved by former general secretary Prakash Karat at the central committee meeting at Kolkata in January was adopted by 55-32 votes.0
Supporters of Yechury are insisting on a secret voting as many delegates who favour his line are not ready to speak openly. The political resolution is crucial since the CPM’s roadmap for the next three years, which cover the Lok Sabha election and assembly elections to several states, will be based on it.
Secret voting is a rare occurrence in the CPM. The Karat camp says there is no constitutional provision in the party for it. However, the Yechury camp has denied it arguing that the constitution had no clause barring secret voting. It merely says that the resolution presented by the central committee should be discussed and adopted, Yechury argues.
No major change in the equation that worked in favour of Karat’s line at the central committee meeting was witnessed during the debate on the political resolution. While delegates from eight states backed Karat’s no truck with Congress line, three supported the Yechury line.
The states that have rallied behind Karat are Kerala, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. Yechury received support from only West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Assam.
P Rajeev kicked off the discussion by articulating the Kerala’s unit’s stand. He opposed any kind of adjustment with the Congress saying it will be suicidal for the party. He justified the stand by pointing out the BJP had made gains in Tripura due to erosion in the Congress votes there.
Tapan Chakravarty, a delegate from Tripura, backed him saying that the voting in Tripura had showed that Congress cannot be considered as a bulwark against the BJP. He pointed out that the Congress had suffered heavy losses wherever BJP won.
This is contrary to the view of the West Bengal unit, which believes that being the biggest opposition party the Congress will have a big role in fighting the BJP. A senior leader from the state said that the saffron party would not have come to power in Tripura if the party had taken the Congress on board.
The delegates from the state are fully geared to fight it out till the end. However, it has not been able to marshal support from other key states. If the Yechury line is voted out, it may lead to the ouster of the current general secretary.
The new central committee to be elected by the congress will decide on the new general secretary. As per the convention followed by the party, Yechury, who was elected to the post in the Visakhapatnam congress in 2015, he can continue for another two terms.
The Karat-led faction supported by the Kerala unit is not in favour of Yechury continuing as the party chief. They have projected former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar as his successor. Political observers believe that this will widen the rift in the party if not lead to a vertical split.
Image Credits: CPM Twitter