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Yechury says he’s not pro-Congress as CPI (M) debates political line

At the 22nd party congress of the CPI(M), Yechury says his “only objective is to defeat the BJP”

india Updated: Apr 18, 2018 22:22 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
CPI (M),22nd party congress,Sitaram Yechury
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI(M) politburo member Prakash Karat and other leaders attend the 5-day- long 22nd Congress of the CPI(M) at RTC Kalyana Mandapam in Hyderabad.(PTI Photo)

An emotional Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday rejected allegations about his “pro-Congress” mindset and told the 22nd party congress that his “only objective is to defeat the BJP.”

Hours after his predecessor Prakash Karat presented the political resolution in at the congress in a rare departure of norms, Yechury stood up to present what he called “the minority point of view .”

He insisted that there should be a scope of political understanding with other parties.

“I am not a Congressman. I am not asking for an alliance with the Congress. There are allegations that I am advocating for Congress. I am not, “ said Yechury, while he appealed for an unified view on the issue of the party’s political-tactical line.

Karat, who enjoys the majority support, said that electoral politics and the political-tactical line should not be mixed. “This political resolution is for three years but when election comes we will take suitable steps to defeat BJP, “ he said, reminding that in 2004, the Left supported the United Progressive Alliance without any specific mention in the political-tactical line in that regard.

Two senior leaders from West Bengal, the state which is solidly behind Yechury, said if there is no middle path, there will be voting on the political line on Friday. Casting votes on the political line could be a rare and embarrassing step as it exposes fault lines between the state units.

In his last ditch effort to push his political line at the party congress, Yechury earlier on Wednesday called for “mobilizing secular democratic forces” to defeat the BJP government. Yechury’s inaugural speech focused on countering the BJP-RSS combination, sparing any mention of the Congress.

The general secretary wants the CPI(M) to keep the door ajar for a political understanding with the Congress amid hectic parleys in the Opposition camp for an anti-BJP alliance for 2019. The powerful Prakash Karat camp, comprising of states like Kerala, are opposed to any such step.

Yechury’s line has so far been rejected in the politburo and the Central Committee with an overwhelming majority. The party congress is the last forum for the final debate on this issue and if the general secretary’s proposals gets defeated, Yehcury’s status as the head of the party will be will be under pressure.

The debate on the political-tactical line started in the afternoon and is expected to continue for the next few days.

First Published: Apr 18, 2018 22:22 IST