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3-min read

Party Congress or Congress Party: CPM To Debate Differences In Crucial Kolkata Meet Today

The meeting assumes added significance amid the buzz that party leaders are trying their best to avoid a vote on the two largely differing opinions on how to take on the BJP, which the party has already identified as its prime opponent.

Sougata Mukhopadhyay | CNN-News18

Updated:January 19, 2018, 10:08 AM IST
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Party Congress or Congress Party: CPM To Debate Differences In Crucial Kolkata Meet Today
Representative image of the CPI(M) logo. (Reuters)
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Kolkata: To go or not to go with the Congress, that’s the main question which top CPI (M) apparatchiks will try and resolve over the next three days at the party’s crucial Central Committee meeting in Kolkata.

The meeting assumes added significance amid the buzz that party leaders are trying their best to avoid a vote on the two largely differing opinions on how to take on the BJP, which the party has already identified as its prime opponent.

While party general secretary Sitaram Yechury has, of late, been professing the need for a “broader democratic platform” that includes the Congress in the party’s fight against the BJP, his predecessor Prakash Karat’s aversion for the Congress ever since he withdrew support from the UPA-1 over the controversial Indo-US nuke deal back in 2008 is well known.

The CC meeting, which starts on Friday, is the last before the scheduled party congress of the CPI (M) in April this year in Hyderabad and is likely to finalise its draft political resolution for adoption at the congress. The resolution would pave the political route the party is expected to follow in the run-up to the general elections scheduled next year.

It was the prerogative of the party’s politburo to prepare a uniform draft resolution on the political-tactical line which reportedly fell through following certain “unbridgeable gaps” in the two dominating opinions. The principal policy making body has hence left it to the central committee to resolve the matter, it was learnt.

The matter has been further complicated in the wake of the two CPI (M) chief ministers assuming positions at the two ends of the battle line, a senior party leader confirmed. While Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar is strongly backing a “democratic and secular” force, his counterpart in Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, is learnt be vociferously opposing any move to join hands with the Congress.

With barely a month remaining before Tripura goes to polls on 18 February, Sarkar is feeling the threat of the BJP-Sangh Parivar’s desperations to turn tables in that state where the political fight has traditionally remained between the Left and the Congress. The ground reality in Kerala is presently a bloody fight between the Left and RSS cadres for territorial supremacy. But Vijayan, it seems, finds that reality not compelling enough to tilt towards the Congress.

“We have already adopted the party’s political-tactical line in our Vizag party congress. The task is now to review our experiences while implementing it in the wake of the changing domestic and international situation. It’s also time for us to figure whether we should go beyond what we resolved,” a CPI (M) Politburo member told News18.

“The theory of maintaining equidistance from both the Congress and BJP is an old theory. We have never said any such thing in the last two decades,” he added.

Asked about the vertical division over what the party’s attitude towards Congress should be, the leader said: “We have been with the Congress over issues of communalism, safety and security of the people of India and protecting the country’s Constitution. Else, the UPA experiment wouldn’t have taken off in the first place. But over matters of economic reforms and foreign policy, we feel that the Congress is no different from the BJP.”

But it was the speculation over the sharp differences in the party’s political-tactical line in the run up to the 2019 polls which was perhaps best summarised by the leader. “It seems that more than our move towards the party congress, it’s our so-called drift towards the Congress party that interests all,” he said.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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