CPI(M)’s Karat, Yechury factions fail to reach consensus on Congress at politburo meet

While CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and some leaders believe that the party must open channels for achieving a “political understanding” with the Congress, the powerful Prakash Karat lobby will have none of it.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2017 21:22 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CPI(M),Prakash Karat,Sitaram Yechury
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury believes there is a need for greater unity among the Opposition to take on a formidable Bharatiya Janata Party.

Two factions of the CPI(M), led by general secretary Sitaram Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat, failed to arrive at an understanding on the party’s tactical line towards the Congress at a two-day politburo meeting that ended on Sunday.

The matter was referred to the party’s central committee after both Yechury and Karat presented contrasting notes on the matter. “The politburo discussed the draft political report for the 22nd Congress. These discussions will now be placed for the central committee’s consideration at its forthcoming meeting from January 19 to 21 at Kolkata,” a party statement said.

While Yechury and some leaders believe that the party must open channels for achieving a “political understanding” with the Congress, the powerful Karat lobby will have none of it. The CPI(M) had supported the first Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for four years, but their relationship ended on a bitter note.

Decades ago, the CPI(M) had dumped its political policy of maintaining “equidistance from the BJP and the Congress” to counter the rise of the saffron party by presenting a united opposition. However, in its 2016 party Congress, the Leftist party resolved against having any direct or indirect truck with the Congress and – instead – focus on strengthening Left democratic parties. The resolution further stated that the CPI(M) “should seek the cooperation of all non-Left parties (other than the Congress) to oust the Narendra Modi government”.

Now, Yechury wants the line of “not having any understanding with the Congress” dropped for acquiring more manoeuvring space to deal with an increasingly formidable BJP.

The issue of reaching a tacit understanding with the Congress has generated friction in the organisation on many past occasions. The CPI(M)’s West Bengal unit was snubbed by party for joining hands with the Congress in the last state assembly polls. The Kerala lobby did not allow a third term for Yechury in the Rajya Sabha earlier this year because it would require Congress’ support for the party chief.

While Karat is vehemently opposed to any understanding with the Congress, his note stated that the CPI(M) can tie up with other parties – even if they are Congress allies. Sources said this move was aimed at sending a signal to leaders such as Rashtriya Janata Dal head Lalu Prasad in Bihar and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief K Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu.

Party leaders said attempts will be made to arrive at a consensus in the politburo before the draft tactical line is tabled in the central committee meeting.

First Published: Dec 10, 2017 21:22 IST