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Victory for Pro-Congress Comrades as CPI(M) Endorses Yechury Line on Anti-BJP Front

Alliance with the Congress in the 2019 General Elections had been one of the key points of contention in the resolution. The party’s general secretary, Sitaram Yechury, favoured an alliance with the Congress, but his predecessor Prakash Karat was firmly opposed to it.

Kay Benedict |

Updated:April 20, 2018, 11:43 PM IST
Victory for Pro-Congress Comrades as CPI(M) Endorses Yechury Line on Anti-BJP Front
File photo of CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury. (PTI Photo)
Hyderabad: In a dramatic development, the CPI(M) on Friday endorsed the political-tactical line proposed by general secretary Sitaram Yechury at the ongoing 22nd CPM Congress in Hyderabad, paving the way for an “understanding” with the Congress and other secular-democratic forces to form a broad pan-India anti-BJP coalition ahead of the 2019 election.

The turnaround came as more than 16 state units demanded a secret ballot to choose between the two political-tactical line versions advocated by the two warring factions led by Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat.

The Karat faction had opposed any “understanding” with the Congress and had support in the high powered Central Committee and politburo, but a majority of the 786 delegates saved the day for Yehcury as they, departing from the usual show of hands methods, demanded a secret ballot to determine the political resolution.

Many delegates were not willing to be seen openly opposing the Karat line backed by the powerful Kerala comrades, but a secret ballot was an altogether different ball game. Seeing the writing on the wall and to avoid the unprecedented situation of secret voting, the party leadership decided to incorporate the amendments calling for an understanding with the Congress.

The CPI(M) adopted the main political resolution on Friday evening after approving an amendment moved by the Steering Committee, with an overwhelming endorsement from the delegates. A total of
47 delegates had spoken on the resolution. During deliberations, delegates moved around 373 amendments. Of these, 37 amendments were accepted.

The compromise formula that the two rival factions in the party finally arrived at was to drop the words "understanding and electoral alliance" with the Congress and replace it with (no) "political alliance" with the Congress.

This effectively means that the CPI(M) would be ready to enter electoral alliances with the Congress if the situation so demands but it will not form any government with the party.

Yechury had never advocated a political or electoral alliance but only an “understanding”

In the statement released on Wednesday, Yechury presented a united front. “We are all agreed that our main fight is against the BJP/RSS and to defeat this Government. After this Congress we go
back in a unified manner take this fight throughout the country to mobilize the vast mass of our people on the guidance of the political resolution,” he said.

Karat said it was not a question of some words ‘understanding and alliance’ as some delegates stated. "It is the approach of how best to fight the BJP RSS and ensure their defeat. A large number of comrades asked the leadership to resolve the issue so as to go back from this Congress with the message of unity," he said.

He said that the decision was taken keeping the spirit of comrades in mind. “As far as the political line is concerned, any political alliance with the Congress is ruled out. Such an alliance with the major party of the Indian ruling classes will weaken our struggle against building the unity of the people for a policy alternative to the ruling classes. It is on the basis of this line that future electoral tactics will be decided,” he said.

The former general secretary made it clear that the scope of any understanding has been clearly defined in the resolution.

“Within Parliament we have understanding with secular opposition parties including the Congress on agreed issues. We take forward the Vishakapatnam Party Congress resolution that we need a
broad mobilization of all democratic and secular forces against communalism,” he added.

Party sources said the decision underscored the vibrant internal democracy in the party and avoided a possible showdown between the two groups that some feared could even lead to a split.

But the battle is not over yet. The next fight will be over the composition of the new Central Committee, which will represent the party as a whole and be responsible for directing the entire work of the party. The CC shall have the right to take decisions with full authority on any question facing the party.

To strengthen his position and carry out party programmes and policies without factional interference, it would be necessary for Yechury to have majority support in the CC that clears all
important decisions until next Congress in 2021, including electoral tactics in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Unless majority of CC follows him and majority of politburo falls in line it will be difficult for Yechury to implement party programmes smoothly. If he fails, the next Congress could hold him accountable.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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