Sitaram Yechury was on Sunday re-elected as CPM general secretary for another three years. And at the end of the crucial five-day national conclave of the party, he has emerged more strengthened, having not just managed to get his line on understanding with the Congress accepted, but in bringing down the overwhelming dominance of his detractors in Politburo and Central Committee.
The last 12 hours leading to reconstitution of Politburo and central committee saw hectic negotiations. The Politburo had to meet twice and discussions, which began Saturday night, continued till Sunday morning. Finally, the two sides arrived at a compromise. The anti-Yechury camp, however, still has a slight upper hand in both decision-making bodies.
Eighty-year-old S Ramachandran Pillai, Prakash Karat’s close confidante in Politburo, managed to retain his place. While it was expected that he would be eased out because of his age, the Kerala unit insisted that he should be given an exemption. G Ramakrishnan too retained his place while A K Padmanabhan was dropped. Yechury had Kisan Sabha president Ashok Dhawale and new Tamil Nadu state secretary K Balakrishnan in his mind. Both could not find a place and instead CITU general secretary Tapan Sen and senior leader Nilotpal Basu made the cut.
While Basu is considered close to Yechury, Sen is seen as neutral. Both are from West Bengal, which increases the number of Bengal members in the 17-member Politburo from four to six. The last Politburo had 16 members.
Nineteen new members were inducted into the central committee. Former West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya was dropped as a special invitee while V S Achuthanandan retained his place as a special invitee.
Speaking to reporters after the closing session, Yechury said CPM will chalk out its “electoral-tactical line” on the basis of state-based ground realities. He said CPM has emerged united from this congress and it is determined to carry out “our revolutionary task” to put forth an alternative policy framework.
“This party congress was for unity. We will strengthen the struggle of people and move forward. This battle will be fought on the basis of alternative policies of the Left. We have to defeat the BJP — that is our first task.
“We will have no political alliance with the Congress. But we will have an understanding with it inside and outside (Parliament) to stop communalism,” Yechury said.
In the concluding address, former Tripura CM Manik Sarkar said the 22nd Party Congress was especially important because the country is standing at crossroads due to policies being pursued for the last four years by the government at the Centre led by BJP and “dictated and controlled by the RSS”, which he described as a “fascist organisation”.
“Politically, ideologically and on the question of economic programme and policies, this government is anti-people, out and out pro-rich and thoroughly reactionary… Other than working class, working people, peasantry, agricultural workers, students, youth, women, especially Muslim minorities and Dalits are under severe attack,’’ Sarkar said.
“…it is the prime and urgent task to mobilise the people of all walks of life to counter these all-out attacks and ensure crushing defeat of these forces as early as possible…,” he said. “…the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has to evolve a proper political tactical line to be pursued in the coming days vigorously to fulfill the desire and aspirations of the common people of our country, to isolate and ensure defeat of the BJP-RSS combine,’’ he said.