Yechury, Karat face off as crucial CPM meet takes place

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 20, 2018

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury has called for consensus on the draft political resolution to be presented at 23rd party congress in Hyderabad in April.

The two factions of Communist Party of India (Marxist) - headed by the party's two stalwarts Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat - are ready for a showdown as the party's central committee meeting kicked off in Kolkata today (Friday). All along the CPI-M has been critical of the economic policies of the Congress party here. A CPM state committee member, on condition of anonymity, said: "This meeting is vital for us as panchayat polls are coming up".

All top leaders, including Pinarayi Vijayan, chief minister of Kerala and Manik Sarkar, chief minister of Tripura, where assembly polls will be held next month, took part in the discussion behind closed doors. Mr Yechury reportedly made the plea while presenting his alternative draft before the three-day central committee which began in Kolakata on Friday.

Besides, it would be a rarest of the rare occurrence in the history of the CPM if two proposals are presented at the party congress. Speaking to IANS, state Congress president MM Hassan said it is very clear that a section of the CPI-M in Kerala appears adamant that there should be no such front to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, Karat didn't spell out whether he had revised his understanding that all-in-one unity against BJP was not feasible as it had to include Congress and being the biggest opposition party, it would be heading such a formation.

The CPM Politburo's move to merge the draft political resolution prepared by Yechury with another one made by Prakash Karat and S Ramachandran Pillai had failed.

Whichever way the party votes, it will have a direct bearing on its relations with the Congress, considered to be an important constituent of Yechury's alternative plan. "I don't think a unanimous decision can be reached through discussion", said a central committee member on the sidelines of the meeting. Though not a formal alliance, the CPI (M) had entered into a tactical understanding with the Congress in the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections. However, with no resolution in sight, all eyes will be on the crucial Kolkata meet and whether it ends in a voting ahead of the party congress in April.

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