NEW DELHI: With a question mark hanging over its catalytic role in coalition politics, much like its future electoral presence in West Bengal and Kerala Assemblies and the Lok Sabha, a raging debate is on in the CPM. Two its top leaders, general secretary Prakash Karat and its Parliamentary Party head Sitaram Yechury are taking on each other openly through their respective pressure groups within the party. This came about at the second day of the ongoing four-day brainstorming session of the CPM Central Committee(CC).
The CPM apparatchiks are vigourously debating the correctness of the line being followed since the 1978 Jalandhar Party Congress, where it decided to play a pivotal/catalytic role in gathering with the non-Congress (later the non-BJP) parties together in a political platform as a counter force.
The Karat faction of the party – which still has the numbers – has put forth a new draft political resolution, which is expected to be adopted at the Party Congress at Vishakhapattnam in April, blamed the Jalandhar line as the reason for the political morass the CPM/Left finds itself in today.
That is the non-growth of the party beyond Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura--its virtual decimation in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Maharshtra, UP and Bihar.
But much to the chagrin of pro-Karat faction, Yechury has circulated a five-page alternative draft proposal for consideration of the 90-member CC, which argues that the fault was not with the Jalandhar line but in the implementation of it in the past one decade. In a way, he forced a discussion on Karat’s leadership quality and tenure which ends next year.
In fact, according to sources, that’s pretty much what happened. Though nobody supported Yechury’s alternative draft directly, sources said, many members from both Kerala and West Bengal, who spoke on Monday, criticised the leadership’s style of functioning. It spells doom for Kerala, not just Bengal, the source added. Even the CC members from Tripura – the only surviving state under Left Front rule--took an adversarial view of the leadership’s top-down style of functioning. Sources also said the Karats – Prakash and his wife Brinda – in anticipation of trouble at the session cut short their vacation and rushed back a week ago. This couldn’t be independently verified.