Kozhikode: Sensing an opportunity in national politics, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday saw the emergence of Left and democratic forces as an alternative to occupy the space being created by the failure of coalitions led by the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“The recent political developments showed the failure of the two combinations – the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) and the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) – to consolidate. The Assembly elections to the five States have reflected this trend. As more and more, the bankruptcy and venality of the present order becomes apparent, the people are looking for an alternative…[and] can be provided only by the Left and democratic forces”, party general secretary Prakash Karat said in his inaugural address at the 20th Party Congress in Kozhikode.
Taking on the Congress and the BJP for pursuing neo-liberalism, he said there is little to choose between either party on corruption, considering the alleged nexus of the BJP-led Karnataka government with mining mafia and the Congress-led Central government with the 2G spectrum allocation scandal.
While endorsing the need for an effective Lokpal Bill to curb corruption among public servants, he said the fight should also be directed against the neo-liberal regime. He promised that the CPI(M) will bring in a whole range of measures including electoral reforms to help curb money power in politics.
The party and its leadership is clear that the brick and mortar for an alternative would come from first strengthening CPI(M) – expanding its base and influence across the country, working for Left unity – and then rallying other democratic forces to prepare a Left and democratic platform that can challenge the existing political arrangement.
The futility of the Congress and the BJP to convert the national political arena into a two-party system was underscored by veteran Communist leader A.B. Bardhan, who said the people were not ‘falling prey’ to such an attempt.
In his speech, Mr. Karat mentioned losses in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, but refrained from reiterating reasons behind it. He said the party has examined and identified the shortcomings in the political and organisational sphere and taken steps to correct them.
He said the party had a solid mass base in West Bengal and was willing to counter the violence unleashed against its workers and supporters.
On the ideological clarity the Congress seeks to give to the party, Mr. Karat said: “The CPI(M) has always believed in applying Marxism-Leninism to concrete conditions of India, to chalk out its revolutionary path. We have never tried to emulate models abroad. We have to constantly update our ideological understanding and equip ourselves to meet the challenges of the contemporary era”.
Starting Wednesday, the party over the next five days will discuss draft political, ideological and organisation issues. The last session is slated to discuss for the first time an amendment to its Constitution setting a three-term limit for members, who occupy the post of secretary from the local to central committee level.