CPM meet tomorrow is likely to be stormy
It will be a stormy central committee meeting of the CPI(M) on Saturday, where the party would thrash out whether the ouster of the BJP government at the Centre — which is the primary political objective in the current scenario — can be done without an electoral alliance with other parties, primarily the Congress.
The CPI(M), which is split wide open on this issue, with the West Bengal faction led by general secretary Sitaram Yechury favouring such an alliance and the Kerala group led by former chief Prakash Karat against it, has to finalise a draft outline of a tactical-political resolution before the party congress in April 2018. This document, which will be adopted at the party congress, will form the basis of its strategy for the 2019 general election.
Sources said though the Karat faction was in a majority in both the plitburo and the central committee, both the viewpoints would be discussed at
the CC meeting. A senior leader told this newspaper that either the CC would send the two drafts back to the politburo to be discussed again for a consensus or there might be a vote. In case of voting, there is a big possibility that the Karat faction will prevail. However, the alternate draft which supports electoral pacts with other parties, might be thrown up from the floor at the party congress itself and this might lead to amendments being incorporated in the document. If this happens, it will be the first time such amendments are adopted at the CPI(M) party congress.
The genesis of the discussion on whether an electoral alliance with the Congress was necessary began with an internal debate within the party on whether the BJP-led government at the Centre was a fascist authority in the classical sense of the term.
While the faction supporting an electoral pact with other secular parties like the Congress argues this is fascism in the true sense and every force needs to come together to defeat it, the other side feels that this cannot be fascism as a parliamentary system of democracy still exists.
In an editoral in the party mouthpiece, Mr Karat had written that the BJP-led government at the Centre was “not fascist in the classical sense, but authoritarian”. Mr Yechury had challenged him point blank, saying that the government of Narendra Modi was fascist in nature.
Along with the argument that the Modi government was not fascist in the classical sense, the Karat faction also feels it was the “neo-liberal” policies of the Congress that helped the BJP come to power and thus any electoral understanding with the Congress was detrimental to the CPI(M) retaining its own mass base.
However, the Yechury faction argues this was the time for consolidation of all forces ranged against the Modi government and there was no need to “tie your hands” by explicitly mentioning no alliance with the Congress.
Sources said the Yechury faction felt that it was being targeted unnecessarily by bring branded pro-Congress while there was no mention of any particular party in the draft floated by it. The document in fact only talks about keeping all options open after the elections, the argument being that anti-Congressism cannot be taken to a “logical absurdity”.
It may be recalled that Mr Yechury had been prevented from getting a third Rajya Sabha term with Congress support by the Karat faction. In 1996, then West Bengal CM Jyoti Basu was not allowed to become the Prime Minister, citing a similar argument.
Visually-challenged students participate in a rally on the occasion of “World Sight Day” in Chennai on Thursday.