The schisms and subterranean factionalism in the CPI(M) reared their head in Vijaywada where the party is holding an extended meeting of its central committee.
And whispers about general secretary Prakash Karat using the committee for rubber stamping the political line decided upon by his “core group” were clearly audible among a section of delegates from Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
The meeting got off to an inauspicious start on Saturday as Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee skipped the inaugural session where Karat delivered a long welcome speech.
Like Karat, Bhattacharjee had landed in Hyderabad on Friday but reached Kalashetram, the venue of the meet here, after 4 pm, setting tongues wagging about his strained relations with the central leadership.
The focus of the draft political resolution, placed before the 382 delegates, was on reorganisation and introspection rather than change in the tactical line.
“The draft political resolution and Karat’s speech shows that the political line that the party must follow to come out of the doldrums has already been decided. If the Politburo and the general secretary have already made up their minds, what are we here to discuss?” asked a committee member.
In his speech, Karat tried to assure delegates that the party would do its “utmost so the people of Bengal and Kerala renew their faith in the party and Left-led alliances there”.
Hitting out at the Centre, he said: “The agenda for the government’s anti-people policies is being propelled by the Indo-US CEO Forum. What the chieftains of big business in US and India propose, the Manmohan Singh government accepts...”
“It is these policies that are responsible for the price rise. But the government is still arrogantly not accepting responsibility” Karat added.