CPM may shake up politburo at party congress in Hyderabad
Ashok Dhawale, the CPM’s face in Maharashtra and the brain behind the ‘Long March’ by the farmers this year, is expected to be elevated to the politburo, as a reward for his organising skills.india Updated: Apr 21, 2018 19:08 IST
Major changes to the politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are set to be unveiled at the 22nd Party Congress in Hyderabad on Sunday, according to senior party leaders.
Ashok Dhawale, the CPM’s face in Maharashtra and the brain behind the ‘Long March’ by the farmers this year, is expected to be elevated to the politburo, as a reward for his organising skills. The march from Nasik to Mumbai not just highlighted the plight of the farmers but became a major political issue on which to take on the ruling National Democratic Alliance government.
AK Padmanabhan, the president of the party’s trade union, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), may be removed from the politburo, according to insiders, who declined to be identified. If it happens, it will be after decades that CITU won’t have two representatives in the top body. If Padmanabhan exits, only CITU general secretary Tapan Sen will represent the organization in the politburo.
“The outgoing Central Committee will meet on Sunday to decide the new panel,” former CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said on Saturday.
The politburo is a group of select leaders who takes the day-to-day decisions of the party. It is answerable to the Central Committee, the apex executive body equivalent to the Working Committee in the Congress party. Currently, it has 16 members. It has two women and three minority members but no representation from scheduled castes or scheduled tribes.
The CPM, which has a roadmap to highlight Dalit and tribal causes, faces a unique problem of never ever having a Dalit member the politburo. Amid allegations that it is an upper-class club,senior leader Brinda Karat said, “We are aware of the issue. Certainly we are careful about the social composition of the organization.”
Party insiders added that SR Pillai, the Communist ideologue from Kerala, is on a sticky wicket but may survive as he enjoys “support from Prakash Karat and the powerful Kerala lobby.”
“He should have been out but don’t know what will happen,” said a Central Committee member.
West Bengal’s representation in the politburo may go up by one if a Central Committee face who has been stationed in Delhi for the past many years is added to the politburo. “If it happens”, a party leader pointed out, “Yechury’s hands will be strengthened.”
A section of the party has also demanded that G Balakrishnan (from Tamil Nadu) should be removed and in his place, the newly appointed secretary of the Tamil Nadu unit, Nandu Balakrishnan, be included. Andhra Pradesh unit head BG Raghavalu will be asked to move his base to Delhi.
But all eyes will be on the election of the general secretary. Yechury, after his victory on the political-tactical line, is set to get a second term. Vut a section is not ruling out the possibility of the Kerala lobby pushing for a surprise candidate at the last moment.
A major rift in the party was avoided on Friday with the party’s political tactical line accommodating an understanding with the Congress for the 2019 general elections, as demanded by Yechury.