A CPM central committee review of last month’s Assembly election results witnessed dramatic scenes after a member walked out announcing her resignation in protest against the party not taking any action against its West Bengal leadership for the poll tie-up with Congress.
The party later expelled Jagmati Sangwan, who is also the general secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, from its primary membership for “gross indiscipline”. Sangwan had made her protest public after the committee concluded that the tie-up with the Congress, in what turned out to be a losing cause, was not in consonance with the party line but not a violation either. Sources said Politburo member Brinda Karat met Sangwan and tried to pacify her but in vain.
Meanwhile, the central committee — the highest decision-making body of the party — came out with a statement saying that the “electoral tactics adopted in Bengal was not in consonance with the Central Committee decision not to have an alliance or understanding with the Congress”.
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The Politburo, which had met immediately after the election results, had come to a similar conclusion. The CPM central committee has 91 members, and five permanent and five special invitees. Sources said at least 75 central committee members voted in favour of the Politburo report that the Congress tie-up was not in consonance with the party line — some members abstained and others demanded harsher sanctions.
Sources said several members had argued during the three-day meeting, which concluded Monday, that the Bengal unit’s decision to enter into an electoral alliance was a violation of the party line. But the state leadership was defiant, arguing the alliance was a matter of survival. Some of the Bengal leaders even threatened to resign, forcing the party to succumb and avert a possible split.
Sangwan told The Indian Express that the Politburo’s report at the beginning of the meeting was different.
“This meeting started on June 18. That day, the note presented by the Politburo had this term that it was a violation of the political tactical line by the Bengal Committee. And a huge majority said it was a violation. But today, they said we will be deleting the word ‘violation’ because the Bengal secretary Surjyakant Mishra and senior leaders like Bimanda (Biman Bose) said they will resign if you keep this term,” said Sangwan.
“I said ‘no’. It is not acceptable, at least to me. I said I am resigning from the central committee and party membership, and walked out,” she said.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters that the tie-up with the Congress will continue in order to fight the “Trinamool terror” and “form the broadest possible people’s unity of resistance”.
In another rare move, the Central Committee also “saluted” Congress voters for coming out against the Trinamool Congress and the BJP. “2.15 crore people voted against the Trinamool and the BJP. Of this 1.48 lakh-odd is the Left vote. Around 67 lakh is the Congress vote…The Central Committee saluted the 2.15 crore people who, braving this politics of terror and violence, voted for the slogan of ousting the Trinamool Congress government and isolating the BJP,” said Yechury.
On the Bengal unit’s decision to tie up with the Congress, Yechury said, “The line that they pursued was not in consonance… Why it had happened, what was the matter, those were the things we need to rectify.”
Asked about Sangwan’s protest, Yechury said, “Manik Sarkar was presiding over the meeting. On one question, we were taking a decision. In between, Jagmati got up and said she wanted to resign. Sarkar said, ‘We are discussing some other agenda, you are raising a new issue. Let this agenda be completed after which you can raise your issue’. She walked out.”