NEW DELHI: The CPI(M) on Monday managed to avoid a vertical split in the party over its alliance with the Congress in West Bengal, but not before baring serious internal contradictions.
It was the ‘victorious Kerala party’ that set the tone for the discussion on the last three days of the Central Committee (CC) meeting with the Bengal unit, relegated to the third position in the recent Bengal assembly polls, failing to give a convincing explanation for taking the drastic step of allying with the Congress.
“The general mood of the CC was that the political deviations like the alliance with Congress should not be tolerated. Those who were behind the deviations were also not spared. But it stopped short of censoring the ‘deviators’,’’ a CC member told Express.
Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury had his back to the wall several times with members from TN, Andhra and Tripura too making direct attacks against him. CC members led by the Kerala unit saw to it that the alliance was thrown out. This despite the Bengal state committee deciding to continue the alliance in a meeting last week held in the presence of the five politburo (PB) members. Early on in the meeting, CPM state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra said it would be a “betrayal” of the 21.5 million who voted for the Left-Congress alliance.
But Yechury sensed the way things were unfolding. He asked the Bengal members to show restraint and stopped the Karats and the Kerala unit from asking for a censure of the Bengal unit. The CC arrived at a resolution that “the electoral tactics adopted in Bengal was (sic) not in consonance with the Central Committee decision not to have an alliance or understanding with the Congress.’’
Yechury, asked if the alliance would continue, said: “It was just an electoral alliance. There is no election in near future.’’ That Yechury could save his and the Bengal unit’s hide, despite major bruises, is seen as an achievement.
Meanwhile, Firebrand member and AIDWA leader Jagmati Sangwan (in pic) stormed out of the meeting in protest of the party decision to go soft against those responsible for ‘political deviation’. She declared her resignation to the press outside AKG Bhawan. Later, the party issued a statement saying that Sangwan was expelled from primary membership of the party for “gross indiscipline”.