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CPI-M meet concludes, confusion over third alternative continues

As the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) concludes its six-day long brain storming discussions on Thursday, its confusion over the possibility of forming a Third Front continues.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2008 14:06 IST
Liz Mathew
Liz Mathew

As the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) concludes its six-day long brain storming discussions on Thursday, its confusion over the possibility of forming a Third Front continues.

Expressing serious concern over the growing "bourgeois trends" and fading discipline among its 9.82 million-strong cadres, the party called for a "rectification campaign" among them. It has given strict directions on strengthening democratic centralism and improving collective functioning of the party.

However, the CPI-M seems to be still unclear about its stance on a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) third alternative. Even as it declared that the CPI-M, with 43 MPs in the Lok Sabha, would take initiative for a "Left and democratic alternative", the Communist party admitted that it differentiates between the BJP and the Congress.

The CPI-M announced that the "communal" BJP was its worst enemy and it would adopt tactics to "isolate the BJP and to prevent any opportunistic line up of parties around it for electoral gains."

After the deliberations on the party's political-organisational report, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat is expected to give a clear direction to its future strategies at the concluding session Thursday.

The 19th party congress will conclude with a public rally in the city, which has been engulfed in red flags and revolutionary songs in the last five days.

Although it has announced that the CPI-M would not enter into any alliance or Front with the Congress, whom it has referred to as a "bourgeois-feudal" party, the party documents did not rule out "seat adjustments" with the ruling party in future.

In the 19th party congress, the second party meet after the CPI-M-led Left parties extended their outside support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government, it announced that it would continue its tirade against the neo-liberal policies and thwart the "US imperialist designs to convert India into a strategic ally".

The CPI-M, which has been opposing many of the Congress-led government's economic reform agenda and the India-US nuclear deal, reiterated that it would not allow the government to sign the nuclear agreement.

During deliberations on the political-organisational report, the communist leaders have admitted that the party has miserably failed to expand its base to the Hindi heartland or other states than the three traditionally Left bastion states of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura.

Although party sources admitted that West Bengal government's industrial policies - which were criticized by its own allies - have come under fire, mainly over the Nandigram violence, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee claimed that the state would go ahead with its industrialization.

The party congress endorsed the development models followed in both Kerala and West Bengal. While Kerala stresses on social sectors, West Bengal's efforts are for rapid industrialization. Bhattacharjee attributed the difference in approach to "historical reasons".

The CPI-M has expressed concern over the growing number of dropouts from its whole-timers, considered to be the backbone of the party and the increasing trends of ostentatious lifestyle among the party cadres. "

Cautioning the party functionaries against the growing factionalism, especially in Kerala, the party congress has issued strong warnings against the warring factional leaders in the state. There were also clear warnings against the "corruption" and "degeneration" of its leaders.

On Thursday, the last day of the meet, the party congress will elect a new central committee and politburo. Veteran Marxist leaders Jyoti Basu and Harkishen Singh Surjeet, who have requested the party to exclude them from the politburo, are expected to be given a "special invitee" status as the party wants them to continue their contributions.

At least two more members are expected to be elected to the 17-member politburo to fill the vacancies left by Chittabrata Majumdhar and Anil Biswas. The party may also elect two more members to the apex body in the wake of both Basu and Surjeet been given special status.

While West Bengal trade union leader Mohammed Amin's entry in to politburo is certain, the list of probables include West Bengal Industry Minister Nirupam Sen, party leader Shyamal Chakraborty, Kerala ministers Paloli Mohammed Kutty, M.A. Baby and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, and Rajya Sabha MP A. Vijayaraghavan.

Fresh faces are also expected to be elected to the 85-member central committee.