After battering in the last several elections, ideological differences within CPI(M) on how to come out of the political morass has sharpened with its top leaders on Monday debating an official draft political document and a counter moved by senior leader Sitaram Yechury.
A four-day brainstorming session of the Central Committee has begun with top leaders from different parts of the country debating on the correctness of the political-tactical line adopted at the CPI(M)’s Jalandhar Congress in 1978.
As per this line, the CPI(M) was to take the lead in forming a broad anti-Congress from of secular, democratic parties, as also isolate the BJP.
In a significant move, Yechury has placed before the 90-member panel a five-page alternative report which is understood to be supportive of the Jalandhar line but blames its faulty implementation in the last decade for the drastic decline in CPI(M)’s strength nationally, apparently criticising the leadership of General Secretary Prakash Karat.
Now with the “communal” BJP ruling at the Centre and gaining strength in states, a section of the Central Committee feels it would have to adopt new political-tactical line to face the challenge and regain strength as the ruling dispensation was “a combination of corporate power and RSS-led Hindutva forces”.
A large section of the party feels communalism was also raising its head in West Bengal which had seen no such tension over the past four decades.
When contacted, a top CPI(M) leader said, “We are discussing different political lines and there is nothing individual as is being focused by the media. We will let you know after the discussion is over. The debate has started on the review report of the Politburo.”
In 2004, CPI(M) had 44 MPs in Lok Sabha when it had supported the Congress-led UPA to form government at the Centre. Four years later, the Left withdrew support to UPA-I and subsequently, its strength continued to decline and has fallen to nine now.
In West Bengal too, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress uprooted the Left in West Bengal after 34 years and CPI(M) fortunes fell in its other stronghold of Kerala.
The Central Committee would be debating the two drafts, as well as a third one moved by another Politburo member B V Raghavulu, which apparently goes against the Yechury line.
After carrying out the ideological battle behind closed doors, the Committee would finalise the draft political- tactical line.
This draft would then be open for debate in all the rungs of the party — from the lowest ground-level branches to state committees, over the next four-five months.
The final draft, along with amendments moved by anyone during this process, would be placed before the Party Congress to be held at Visakhapatnam in April next year for adoption.
This Party Congress would see Karat handing down the mantle to a new General Secretary at the end of his term.