In what is seen as a tactical victory for senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury and a setback for general secretary Prakash Karat, the Politburo has been forced to revise a draft review report authored by Karat on the political-tactical line pursued by the party. But if the showdown is any indication, the strain in the CPM is only going to deepen as it prepares to elect new leadership at its triennial conclave early next year.
The central committee, after four days of debate, forced the Politburo to take back its report and write it afresh. Significantly, it was asked to incorporate the shortcomings of the leadership in implementation of its political-tactical line since the 1990s. Yechury had argued that the CPM’s decline was not because of the party’s tactics, but because of faulty implementation.
In a rare admission, Karat Wednesday said there were differences and “dissenting views” in the Politburo. “Two members of our Politburo had a different opinion after our discussion and that was taken to the central committee,” he said.
Yechury and another Politburo member B V Raghavulu had moved separate notes differing with the Politburo draft, which was discussed by the central committee.
Yechury’s dissent prompted a majority of central committee members to talk about organisational failures in what is seen as subtle criticism of the leadership under Karat. Sources said that Karat, during the central committee meeting, admitted that mistakes were made by the leadership in its tactical approach.
Majority of the members also argued that it was not the time to mull over the past, but rather strengthen the organisation. Hence, it was decided that a special conference — plenum in Marxist parlance — would be held on organisational issues towards the end of next year, after a new leadership is elected in April. The last such plenum was held in 1978.
Karat said the political-tactical line since the 1990s will be up for review. In other words, it will not be limited to his tenure. Those close to Yechury see it as a victory, arguing that the decline of the CPM started only since 2005, hence the spotlight will be on Karat’s tenure.
The anti-Karat faction said the plenum would also give them an opportunity to point out mistakes made by the leadership.
The recent central committee meeting saw the leadership come under attack for the party’s dismal showing in the Lok Sabha polls. Members also expressed displeasure over the division in the Politburo.
Sensing the mood, the Politburo met and decided to revise the review report, to be considered by the central committee at its next meeting in January. Karat said the review is being done because “we are not happy with the growth of the party”.