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The contradiction-ridden CPI (M) political draft resolution

Archis Mohan/New Delhi 13 Feb 18 | 11:03 PM

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) draft political resolution, released on Tuesday, was criticized by its ally Communist Party of India (CPI) as “self-contradictory".

In turn, the 80-page draft political resolution of the CPI (M) takes note of the CPI’s political line of uniting with all the secular parties, including the Congress.

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However, the CPI (M) draft rules out any electoral understanding with the Congres or treating that party as an ally or a partner in a united front, since it has the same class character as that of the BJP – both being the parties of the ruling classes. Moreover, the resolution notes, the Congress has proved to be incapable of consistently fighting communal forces.

However, the resolution identifies the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the “main threat" today since it is in power and “given its basic link to the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)". It attributes this to be the reason that the CPI (M) cannot pursue a line “of treating both the BJP and the Congress as equal dangers."

The CPI (M) draft resolution will come up for a vote at its party conclave in April. The draft, which will now be circulated among party state units, which can propose amendments by March 20.

The draft states that the CPI (M)’s “tactical approach" should be to cooperate with the Congress and other secular opposition parties in Parliament on agreed issues.

Outside Parliament, it advocates cooperation, including with the Congress, to mobilise people on issues of workers and farmers and against the communal threat. It goes on to assert that such joint actions should help the CPI (M) poach from the mass support bases of the Congress and other bourgeois parties.

The final resolution once passed at the conclave, would dictate, among other things, the CPI(M)’s electoral alliances for the next three years, including the Lok Sabha polls.

The current draft resolution is backed by senior party leader Prakash Karat, and had found majority support in the party’s central committee meeting last month over the draft resolution proposed by current party chief Sitaram Yechury.

Karat’s resolution is a much-revised version of his earlier draft, which now leaves scope for CPI (M) having an understanding with the Congress inside Parliament.

It also leaves the door ajar for the CPI (M) to have indirect alliances with the Congress, as long as its aligning with a regional party, for example in the Tamil Nadu where its principal ally is the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

Yechury’s draft had kept a window open for possible electoral understanding with the Congress, particularly post-poll scenarios akin to 1996 or 2004, where the CPI (M) had come together with regional parties and/or the Congress to keep the BJP at bay.

The Karat draft is not explicit on how the party will deal with such a scenario after the next Lok Sabha polls, but its point on cooperation with the Congress inside Parliament leaves score for a post-poll understanding.

The contradiction, or rather the impracticality, of the formulation, is starker when it deals with pre-poll alliances.

The draft resolution states that “the main task is to defeat the BJP and its allies by rallying all the secular and democratic forces." It goes on to say that “this has to be done without having an understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress party".

Intriguingly, the draft resolution states that the party should pursue “appropriate electoral tactics to maximize the pooling of the anti-BJP votes" based on its political line that there be no electoral understanding with the Congress party.

How this is possible when the BJP faces the Congress in most of its strong areas, while the CPI (M) primarily fights the Congress in its areas of strength, is left unexplained. In 2004, the Left parties turned up their best ever parliamentary performance by winning 61-seats. Of these, as many as 57-seats were won by defeating Congress candidates.

The draft also states that several of the regional parties are “opportunists" and have now aligned with the BJP or refrained from opposing the Modi government. It puts Janata Dal (United), Asom Gana Parishad, YSR Congress, Biju Janata Dal, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and AIADKM in this list.

The draft resolution also recognizes difficulties in achieving unity of the Left parties, with the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Forward Bloc state units of Kerala now in the Congress-led LDF, and describes the CPI’s political line of aligning with the Congress.

CPI leader D Raja picked several holes in the CPI (M) draft resolution. Raja said it was "impossible" to maximize pooling anti-BJP votes without any understanding with the largest opposition party -- the Congress.

"If they can cooperate with the Congress inside and outside Parliament, it means the Left is having an understanding with the Congress against the BJP," Raja said. He said the Congress was the main force to defeat the BJP in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, and left and other democratic forces will have to have an understanding with the Congress.

He also highlighted the fact that in the last assembly election in Bihar, the Left went all alone, but it was the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance which defeated the BJP.

Raja said the need of the hour is to have a state-specific tactical line and the CPI(M) should understand the political situation in the country.

Sources said that both in 1996 and 2004, the CPI (M) had brought other parties together on the basis of a common minimum programme, which had led to several progressive legislation.

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