CPM sees much-needed change in Karat’s ‘remote salam’ to party flag

Party chief ditches tradition,hoists flag by remote.

Written by Agencies | Kolkata | Published: February 16, 2012 3:30:24 pm

Not too much is usually read into a flag-hoisting ceremony. But count the CPI(M) to be different.

Party chief Prakash Karat raised a few eyebrows at a Kolkata function yesterday when he hoisted the blood-red party flag with the flick of a remote. Hardliners sniggered. For the party,the colour symbolises ‘struggle’.

At the flag-hoisting ahead of the party congress at the Promode Das Gupta Bhavan,Karat ditched the tradition of physically pulling up the flag and then standing in salute.

Some delegates later said: “It shows the party has come a long way since the days when it vehemently opposed automation and the introduction of computers in banks and government offices.” Some others attributed the reason to the rectification drive that is churning through the party. But there were those comrades who would have loved it the traditional way.

However,the West Bengal state conference so far has failed to ignite the fire that was expected,particularly in the backdrop of the party’s ouster from power after 34 years in West Bengal. While much of the deliberations till now were thought to be mundane,touching upon old issues of rectification,deviation from party lines,corruption and nepotism within the party,many confided that the real issues were still kept under wraps. The deliberations lacked the courage to analyse the exact causes of the “poll debacle” in West Bengal and the party’s diminishing strength in all India politics.

The erosion in the party’s acceptability among masses was so deep that Politburo member Nirupam Sen said Comrade Karat feels CPI(M) cannot yet gain anything from the disillusion people feel about the new regime.

The party’s political-organisational report was released late yesterday among party delegates. It reportedly contained figures that should haunt the party top leadership yet again. The organisational report indicated alleged “inflated” figures of party membership earlier – one reason why it has now sharply dwindled.

For example,in 2008 the figure was put at 328,400,but had gone down to 301,250 by November 2011. Such a sharp fall is unusual unless there are manipulations in figures,a senior party comrade said.

The document also noted with concern that several frontal organisations of the party like agricultural front,women’s front,student and youth fronts have suffered because of lack of adequate whole-timers. Party insiders said the remuneration of about Rs 5,000 to to Rs 6,000 was too meager to attract whole-timersnow. In several districts these frontal organisations did not have a single party whole-timer,it noted.

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