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To support Congress or not? Yechury and Karat at odds as CPI(M) debates dilemma

Yechury feels all opposition parties should come together, Karat is apprehensive of any kind of alliance with Congress.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2017 22:18 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CPI(M),Congress,Sitaram Yechury
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury with party leader Prakash Karat during a protest at the BJP headquarters over the alleged RSS-BJP violence against its cadres and supporters in Kerala, in New Delhi on October 9, 2017.(PTI)

The CPI(M) is yet again battling an old conundrum — whether to support the Congress in elections — at its three-day Central Committee meeting that began here on Saturday.

The debate also has the party’s two tallest leaders, general secretary Sitaram Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat, taking different positions.

While Yechury is of the opinion that all non-BJP opposition parties — including Congress — should come together, Karat and his supporters are apprehensive of any kind of alliance with the grand old party.

The debates will primarily focus on three notes Yechury and Karat placed before the party’s top leadership on the issue. Yechury submitted a note explaining his position on September 4, while Karat submitted two notes — one on September 5 and another in the first week of October.

Karat, who was at the helm of affairs when Left parties withdrew support to the UPA-I government over the Indo-US nuclear deal, found little difference between the BJP and Congress when it comes to their “class character”.

He argued that the Congress, a proclaimed secular party, did not do enough to fight the “communal and divisive policies that the BJP represents”.

The Congress, Karat pointed out, was in a consistent state of decline and there was hardly any difference between the economic policies of the grand old party and the BJP, which primarily benefits the rich.

Though joining hands with all secular parties to bring down the BJP government in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is the principle objective of the CPI(M), Karat said the party could not and should not join hands with the BJP.

However, Yechury took a more practical view and said the electoral outcome of Left parties fighting elections together had not brought any encouraging results.

“It’s a necessity that all parties come together to put an end to the BJP’s communal politics and Congress remains a key force in this regard. The party will discuss and decide the line,” said a leader from West Bengal.

First Published: Oct 14, 2017 22:18 IST