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Prakash Karat Prevails Over Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) Says No to Alliance With Congress in 2019

The CPI(M) will have no alliance with the Congress in 2019 general elections, the party's central committee passed a resolution to that effect .

Sougata Mukhopadhyay | CNN-News18

Updated:January 21, 2018, 7:07 PM IST
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Prakash Karat Prevails Over Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) Says No to Alliance With Congress in 2019
Sitaram Yechury's (right) political line has been vehemently opposed by the party's Kerala unit, along with Politburo member Prakash Karat.

Kolkata: The die has been cast. The CPI(M)’s central committee has adopted its draft political resolution and decided not to join hands with the Congress to take on the BJP in the forthcoming elections, including the general elections of 2019.

With 55 votes against 31, the political line of CPI(M)’s former general secretary Prakash Karat trumped the opinion of reigning general secretary Sitaram Yechury in the highest policy making body of the party.

The vertical division at the top leadership of the CPI-M on whether or not to go with the Congress had struck such high chords during the three-day meet in Kolkata that Yechury even offered to resign at one point. He was coaxed to retract from his position by senior comrades at the meeting, it was reliably learnt.

The resolution adopted by the 91-member committee will now be put up for formal adoption at the CPI(M) party congress, which is scheduled to take place in Hyderabad in April. Once adopted, the party is bound to follow and implement its political-tactical line till its next party congress, which takes place once every three years.

The voting took place in the wake of the committee’s unwillingness to carry two separate documents on the political tactical line to the party congress.

“We have resolved not to go into any kind of electoral alliance or political understanding with the Congress party. This is a draft resolution which would be adopted by the party only after the party congress. It would be released for discussion within the party two months ahead of the congress,” Yechury told reporters after the meet.

Asked whether this was a setback, Yechury defended the party’s official position: “We have always maintained our distance from the Congress party… this is not new,” he said.

Political observers believe that the task of toeing this political line would become especially difficult for some state units like Tripura where elections are scheduled to take place less than a month from now. While the Left has identified the Sangh-BJP combine as the biggest threat to one of its last standing bastions in the country, it may not be able to rope in the Congress, a formidable political force in that state, in its fight against the BJP.

Asked if the party’s central leadership would leave it to the state leaders to take a final call on that, Yechury said, “The Left Front is well poised to win the Tripura elections on its own”.

The party’s former general secretary, Prakash Karat, whose anti-Congress stand is well known ever since he pulled the plug on the first UPA government in 2008 over the Indo-US nuke deal, had support from the southern units of the CPI-M, especially Kerala.

The state’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan is believed to be an active advocate of the Karat line. The fact that special invitee to the CC meeting and former Kerala CM, VS Achyutanandan, who couldn’t attend the meeting but wrote a letter calling for ouster of the BJP with support of the secular and democratic forces including the Congress evidently failed to cut ice.

It remains to be seen in this backdrop whether April does indeed turn out be the cruellest month for Yechury who is battling one of the lowest phases of his party in its entire history.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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