By Nitya Chakraborty
The 22nd Party Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) begins its five day session on April 18 at Hyderabad amidst major convulsions in this biggest Left Party of the country over the issue of deciding its policy of understanding with the leading opposition party the Congress to fight the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
The 750 delegates attending the Party Congress have to decide whether majority of them will give their approval to the draft political resolution ruling out any electoral understanding with the Congress Party against the BJP or they will show more pragmatism compared to the dominant leadership of the Party and opt for a flexible electoral strategy giving scope for understanding with all anti-BJP forces including the Congress. This alternative line is being forcefully advocated by the incumbent general secretary of the Party Sitaram Yechury.
It is a tragedy for the CPI(M) that though Yechury was elected as the general secretary of the Party at the 21st party congress in 2015 after the expiry of three terms of his predecessor Prakash Karat, he was not allowed to have a free hand in deciding on the strategy of the Party, especially its relationship with the Congress and the regional parties and as a result, the CPI(M) failed to play any major role in the campaign of the secular forces against the BJP and the Narendra Modi government. The old line of equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress remained intact even in the phase of bitter fascist offensive by the saffron forces. The outcome was that the CPI(M) steadily lost its earlier prominence as a major shaper of the opposition unity and was pushed to the shell as a result of the myopic policies persued by the dominant politburo led by the former general secretary Prakash Karat.
The political draft which is before the Congress now is of Karat and this was approved at the last Kolkata meeting of the central committee of the Party by defeating the alternative draft of Sitaram Yechury. Much political water has flowed in te national landscape in the last three months. The RSS offensive has increased and the CPI(M) has lost heavily in the recent assembly elections in Tripura at the hands of BJP. There are murmurs among the senior delegates about the way the politburo has sidelined the general secretary to whom the senior leaders of the opposition including the Congress look for advice. The country is at a critical time when a broad anti-BJP unity is the need of the hour and this has to include the electoral policy also. If the majority of the delegates think that for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a united front of the secular and the democratic forces against the BJP has to be built with immediate effect, the CPI(M) Party Congress has to approve the amendments to be moved by Sitaram Yechury and his supporters to the draft political resolution and ensure that the CPI(M) remains a pro-active anti-BJP force at the thick of the opposition efforts to unseat the Narendra Modi from power in the coming Lok Sabha poll.
For the Left movement, no other issue is more important now other than stepping up the offensive against the saffron forces in an united manner and working on a programmatic understanding of the regional parties, the Congress and the Left to take on the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha battle. The die is cast and there is no time left. The bugle for the Lok Sabha elections has already blown. All actions or reactions of the Modi-Amit Shah team are tuned to the 2019 poll strategy and they are determined to come back to power to fulfill their dream of making India a Hindu rashtra by 2022. Prime Minister therefore calls 2022 as the year of the emergence of a New India. This Parivar onslaught has to be fought and this can be done successfully only by an alliance of the secular forces. The recent united electoral battle results of Samajwadi Party and the BSP in the Lok Sabha by elections in Uttar Pradesh have shown what is possible if the anti-BJP parties unite.
Among the Left, the CPI has already taken the pragmatic view that the Left alone cannot meet the offensive of the saffron forces. There has to be a total unity of secular forces against the BJP including the Congress. The Congress has to change its domineering attitude and the regional parties can put pressure on the Congress in a friendly way. But there can not be any anti-BJP opposition front without active participation of the Congress at this stage of the national polity. The CPI(M) delegates must understand this and they should rise to the occasion by voting for the line advocating maximum collaboration of the secular and democratic forces to fight the BJP in the coming electoral battle.
The call of the hour for the Hyderabad Congress delegates is to unequivocally approve Sitaram Yechury’s second term along with his political line. This is the best course for the CPI(M) to be back to the mainstream politics again. Once Sitaram gets a free hand, automatically the opposition leaders and the Congress even, will seek his counsel in navigating the opposition unity efforts towards building a massive anti-BJP thrust. This will help the process of Left renewal also. A combination of Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M) and Sudhakar Reddy and D. Raja of CPI, will be most useful in catapulting the Left once again as a prime mover of the opposition unity before the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. The CPI(M) delegates have to decide whether they will be an active partner in the wider battle against saffron forces or they will be relegated to the fringe after the 2019 poll. (IPA Service)
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