Outgoing CPM general secretary called for Left unity Tuesday, saying it was imperative for fighting the “right-wing offensive” by the BJP and RSS, which he described as a “joint venture” running the government.
In his inaugural address at the six-day party congress in Visakhapatnam, Karat admitted the party has suffered “reverses in the recent period, particularly in West Bengal” and said it is “absolutely vital to build and expand the independent strength of the CPM and the Left” and to overcome the reverses.
The party congress comes at a time when the CPM has been reduced to single digit seats in the Lok Sabha, having lost even its bastion of Bengal. A new central committee, politburo and general secretary will be elected in the last two days of the triennial annual conclave.
The party placed the draft review report on its political tactical line for discussion, which admitted its line had not helped it go beyond the three states of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura in the last three-and-a-half decades. In the report, the party has said priority must be accorded to enhancing the independent role of the party and expanding its mass base.
The party also said it was important to bring all Left-leaning forces on a common platform.
Karat launched an aggressive attack on the BJP and RSS and said they were running a “joint venture” government at the Centre. “For the last nearly one year, we have witnessed the unfolding of the right-wing offensive in the country which spans the economic, political, social and cultural spheres,” Karat said.
“We have a political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, in power at the Centre which is but a political extension of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. Thus, the Modi government is a joint enterprise of the RSS and the BJP with the parent partner holding the majority stake in this joint venture,” he said, adding the NDA government came to power because of the “twin forces of big bourgeois corporate support and the exertions of the RSS-led Hindutva forces”.
Karat also attacked the NDA government for pursuing “pro-big business and pro-rich policies” and for opening the way for the “Hindutva forces to advance their communal agenda”.
“The RSS is dictating the agenda for the educational system, research and cultural institutions,” the outgoing CPM general secretary said, and added there was a “vicious campaign” against minorities, including re-conversion and a beef ban.
Accusing the BJP and RSS of attempting to demolish “secular democratic foundations” of the Constitution, Karat said the combine is “glorifying” Nathuram Godse.
“The repeated use of ordinances, the intolerance shown to the secular and democratic intelligentsia and cultural artists are all portents of an authoritarian type of regime,” he said.
Earlier in the day, other Left leaders also spoke at the inaugural session and described the “right-wing offensive” as a key challenge. CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy said it was important to learn from the Aam Aadmi Party.