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Pragmatism, ground truths mark CPM approach on Congress in Kerala

The 23rd Party Congress of the CPI(M) ended in Kannur on Sunday with the adoption of a resolution to "defeat the BJP by organising all secular and democratic forces’’ in the country.

Written by Shaju Philip | Kannur |
Updated: April 10, 2022 10:50:23 pm
It is the third such resolution of the CPI(M) since the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014.(Twitter/@cpimspeak)

The CPI(M) 23rd party congress ended in Kannur on Sunday with a resolve to “defeat the BJP by organising all secular and democratic forces’’ in the country. It is the third such resolution of the CPI(M) since the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014.

In the last two sessions of the party congress – in 2015 (Visakhapatnam) and 2018 (Hyderabad) – the CPI(M) had adopted a near identical political resolution vis a vis the BJP, but the party has not been able to do much to stop the march of the Sangh Parivar. Instead, it has been confronting its own decline at the national level.

The party congress also stuck to the party’s tactical line on the Congress, saying there would be no pre-poll alliance with the Congress. However, the leadership has stated that it is open for state-level alliances like the one in Tamil Nadu, where the CPI(M), Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League are minor partners of the ruling DMK.

Despite its stated goal of taking on the BJP, considering its realities on the ground, it’s easier said than done. For one, the CPI(M) has no role to play in states where the BJP and its allies are ruling.

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In Kerala, the only state where the CPI(M) is in power, the BJP is far from being an electoral challenger. Secondly, while claiming that the party has to fight Hindutva forces, on the ground, it is the Congress that the CPI(M) has to contend with.

In short, the party’s stand that it will have no truck with the Congress is based on this pragmatism more than anything else: that in the only state where it is in power, its rival is the Congress more than the BJP.

The other clear signal from the party’s decision on the Congress is that the powerful Kerala unit of the party has managed to prevail upon its counterparts elsewhere in the country.

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A highlight of the 23rd party congress was the decision taken to popularise the Left’s “Kerala model of development” as an alternative to the “neo-liberal policies” of the BJP at the Centre. The decision comes at a time when the party-led government is mired in controversies over the proposed K-rail project as well as the move to open up the higher education and health sectors to foreign investment.

Admitting that the party is going through its most challenging phase since its formation in 1964, the CPI(M) said all state committees should identify a Left programme around which they rally within the next six months. The quality of party membership should be improved and all-party branches should be activated, the organisational report said.

The report also called for increased participation of youth and women in the party, noting that even though membership in the state has grown from 4,89,086 in 2018 to 5,27,174 in 2021, only around 10 per cent of the members are below the age of 25.

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First published on: 10-04-2022 at 09:39:56 pm

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