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As Karat Weighs in, Yechury Ends up Presenting 'Minority View' at Hyderabad Party Congress

The inaugural vibes from the Hyderabad Party Congress seem to suggest that the process to formally remove Yechury as the party’s general secretary has well and truly begun.

Sougata Mukhopadhyay | CNN-News18

Updated:April 19, 2018, 7:14 PM IST
As Karat Weighs in, Yechury Ends up Presenting 'Minority View' at Hyderabad Party Congress
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury at the press meet in Hyderabad on April 19, 2018.

Kolkata: For a party that’s battling for survival, both within and outside the Parliament and state Assemblies, the 22nd Party Congress of the CPI-M began with a kind of start in Hyderabad that many would not consider encouraging.

The widening rift between Prakash Karat faction and those supporting general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s views on the party’s political-tactical line was already in public domain since its Kolkata Central Committee meeting in January this year when the latter’s views on the matter were voted out leading to Yechury offering to resign.

The inaugural vibes from the Hyderabad Party Congress seem to suggest that the process to formally remove Yechury as the party’s general secretary has well and truly begun.

Moving away from convention, the Central Committee-adopted draft political resolution was placed before the delegates not by the party’s current general secretary, but by the former top apparatchik, Prakash Karat.

Yechury, of course, presented his document as the “minority point of view”.

The putting up of two parallel documents for discussion before delegates at the party’s highest decision making forum means it has now become inevitable that the party’s political-tactical line would be settled by votes. And with the Karat-faction clearly dominating the 700-odd delegates at the congress, Yechury’s fate is anybody’s guess.

The disagreement, of course, is over whether or not to participate in a broad-based secular political platform, of which the Congress party is a part, to defeat the ruling BJP-RSS dispensation at the Centre and in several states.

While the Yechury line advocates that the possibility of a tactical understanding with the Congress should be kept open, the draft official stand moved by Karat states that rallying secular and democratic forces to defeat the BJP must be done without having an understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress.

In the wake of the fact that several state elections and the Parliamentary elections are due within a year, a reconciliation of this debate within the party is, hence, of utmost significance and could determine its political fate in the years ahead.

It, however, bears recall that the CPI-M faced a similar dilemma during the 16th Party Congress in Kolkata in 1998 when the party was divided down the middle on the question of cooperating with the then Congress (I) to develop a cogent and effective political strategy to counter the BJP. The question had its roots in the then Bengal chief minister and politburo member Jyoti Basu’s remark that the party had committed a “historic blunder” in rejecting the offer to lead the United Front Government in 1996 with support from Congress (I).

It was party’s then general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet who had moved a parallel minority view proposal at the Kolkata congress in support of the move. And, ironically, among those in the politiburo who had opposed that view was Sitaram Yechury.

History is on the verge of repeating itself, as many would say, in the form of a tragedy. Seen otherwise, it’s just one step away from becoming a farce.

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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