Ramchandra Dome, who became the first Dalit member of the Politburo – the highest decision-making body of the CPI(M) – 58 years after its inception, doesn’t think it to be a “historic moment” for the party. According to the 63-year-old leader, who began his political journey through student politics, there have been “many stalwart leaders” in the party from the Dalit community.
“In our party, a person becomes a leader through some movement. It is a continuous process. In our party’s history, many stalwart leaders were from the Dalit community. Somehow they were not in the Politburo… Therefore, my induction into the Politburo is not a historic moment,” Dome told The Indian Express over the phone.
Dome hails from Chilla village in Birbhum district. He was born and brought up in a family of woodwork artisans. A bright student from his childhood, Dome cracked the MBBS entrance examination and got admission to the prestigious NRS Medical College from where he completed his MBBS degree in 1984.
During the Emergency in mid 1970s, Dome became active in student politics and joined the Left Front’s students’ wing.
In 1989, five years after he completed MBBS, he entered Parliament after winning from the Birbhum Lok Sabha constituency. He continued as an MP till 2014, winning in six consecutive Lok Sabha elections. In the 2014 General Elections, he lost to TMC’s Anupam Hazra in the Bolpur constituency.
According to his colleagues, despite being a six-time MP, Dome’s lifestyle did not change at all. “He (Dome) is probably the only leader who continues to roam in Suri on his old bicycle. He is one of those rare leaders who maintains his old lifestyle even after becoming MP for six consecutive times,” said a CPI(M) leader.
Welcoming Dome to the Politburo, Sitaram Yechury, who on Sunday was re-elected as party general secretary for a third consecutive term, said: ”In the history of CPI(M), he will be the first Dalit politburo member. We are proud of it.”
Senior CPI(M) leader Hannan Mollah, who has been dropped from Politburo this time, also called Dome’s inclusion a proud moment for the party and the “perfect Dalit representation in the Politburo”.
“Ram hails from a marginal family in West Bengal. He became a leader through mass movement and mass organisation. We got a perfect Dalit representation in the party leadership. His inclusion in the Politburo has made us proud,” Mollah told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, Dome feels that the party has to “sharpen” its movement across the country. “We are going through a fascist rule in our country. In West Bengal also, we have to fight against two fascist forces – the BJP at the Centre and TMC in the state… We have to sharpen our movement against these fascist rulers. We have to reach out to the whole country and send our party cadres and our message to all the corners of the country,” Dome said.