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The factions led by CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat are gearing up for another showdown at the party’s central committee meeting in Kolkata from January 19.
The two sides having failed to iron out their differences on the party’s approach towards the Congress and the central committee will now consider two separate drafts of the political resolution. The two sides differed on the party’s approach at the last Politburo meeting in December. They had agreed to work to narrow down the divergence of views and present one document, but differences persist and two documents — by Yechury, and by Karat and S R Pillai — will be considered by the central committee.
Both sides agreed that the primary objective of the party should be to oust the BJP-led government at the Centre.
Three of the five points made by Yechury in the revised draft are in this fashion: strengthen the party and its independent activities, strengthen Left unity through struggles and forge a unity of Left and democratic forces and form a Left and democratic front to offer a political alternative. Sources said the Karat side agreed with this. Yechury also said the party should have an anti-communal campaign in cooperation with other secular forces.
The Karat side, however, is unwilling to accept his last formulation that the party should work to achieve its primary objective of defeating the BJP and ousting it from power “without entering into an electoral alliance or front” with ruling-class parties.
The Karat draft says the party should work to achieve the same goal “without entering into any understanding of alliance with the Congress party”.
It goes on to say that in states where there are dominant regional parties, the party can have an understanding with them even though they are in alliance with the Congress. The specific example could be Tamil Nadu where the CPM wants an alliance with the DMK which will have an alliance with the Congress. The Karat draft also says that in states where the Congress and the BJP are in a direct fight, the CPM can contest a few seats and campaign for the defeat of the BJP in other seats.
The Yechury faction said the Karat formulation is contradictory. “Giving a call for the defeat of the BJP in effect means seeking for support to the Congress…. What is the difference?” a senior leader told The Indian Express.
If the two sides fail to iron out their differences at the central committee, the party will witness an unusual development of two drafts being placed before the Party Congress, the CPM’s once-in-three-years national conclave in April.