CPI (M) grapples with differences over political roadmap

Hyderabad: A national convention of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is deliberating over two divergent viewpoints within the party, on the issue of forging electoral understanding with the Congress, and a final decision on the political line would be taken on Friday.
“The discussions have just begun. As per the Central Committee’s decision, two opinions were placed before the party congress for discussions,” the CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters on the sidelines of the party’s 22nd congress, which opened here on Wednesday.
In a departure from the established procedure, the draft political resolution, cleared by the Central Committee in January, was moved by senior leader Prakash Karat while Yechury tabled the minority view on the political resolution.
Normally, the incumbent general secretary presents the draft political resolution at the congress, the highest decision making forum of the party, for debate and discussion.
Making light of the unusual break from the convention, Yechury said there were several instances in the past when leaders other than the incumbent general secretary tabled the draft political resolution at the party congress.
“Since there was a difference of opinion on tactical line, the Central Committee felt that both the opinions should be discussed at the party congress and come to a collective decision. Once the decision is arrived at after deliberations, it will be the unified policy decision of the party,” he said.
He dismissed media reports suggesting that two separate draft resolutions were presented at the congress. The Central Committee also accepted 286 amendments to the draft political resolution.
The Marxist party is vertically divided over the issue of electoral tactics. The ideological differences between Yechury and his predecessor Karat are mainly centered around the party’s approach towards Congress. While the Karat camp is vociferously opposed to any kind of truck with the Congress, the Yechury camp is in favour of keeping the door open for electoral understanding with the Congress in tune with the larger goal to defeat the BJP.
Yechury’s political line was earlier rejected by majority vote at the party’s Central Committee meeting in Kolkata in January this year. The draft political resolution, ruling out any understanding with the Congress, has now been placed before the delegates for discussion and adoption.
Asked what would be his next move if the party congress rejected the “minority view”, Yechury said, “Just wait. Bear with us. Our party has a vibrant inner democracy and will take decisions collectively after discussion and debate.”
He, however, made it clear that there was “no point of dispute” in the party on the issue of poll alliance with the Congress or joining such a front. “We were never part of any alliance with the Congress nor did we ever join the coalition government. We had only given outside support on the basis of issues, be it for the United Front government in 1996 or the UPA in 2004,” Yechury said.
“Our main priority is to defeat the BJP. We are discussing on strategies to achieve that. We firmly believe that it must be based on an alternative policy direction by strengthening the unity among the Left and democratic forces,” the Marxist leader said.
Indicating the party’s tactical line, Yechury said,” We are going to appeal to the people to vote for the Left wherever we are strong and defeat the BJP wherever the Left is not there.”