On the eve of a crucial meeting of CPI(M) central committee to decide on the contentious issue of its approach towards the Congress in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday said his party and the Left hold a “patent” on “outside support” to coalition governments, indicating that a future association with the Congress cannot be ruled out.
Any possible understanding with the Congress is at the heart of the tug of war between Yechury and the section of the party led by his predecessor, Prakash Karat. The political line worked out by CPI(M) in 2015 was that the “main direction of our attack should be against the BJP when it is in power, but this cannot mean having an electoral understanding with the Congress”. But with the BJP on the ascendant, Yechury argued, the situation has changed and this line will have to be nuanced.
A separate note written by him, elaborating his argument and the draft of the political resolution approved by the party Politburo, which is dominated by leaders seen as close to Karat, will come up for discussion in the three-day central committee meeting, which begins on Saturday.
At a function on Friday to release former President Pranab Mukherjee’s book The Coalition Years, Yechury, talking about the UPA-I, said although he does not believe in intellectual property rights, “I still claim one intellectual patent, and that is the concept called outside support”. He said the paradigm of coalition is “coming back” to Indian politics again.
Sources in CPI(M) said Yechury is of the view that without an electoral alliance or front, CPI(M) should seek the cooperation of non-Left secular parties to defeat the BJP. The Karat side wants to specify that instead of non-Left, the formulation should be non-Congress secular parties. Those close to Yechury argue that the party had cooperated with the Congress in the polls for the President and the Vice-President.