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Karat re-endorses his hold in CPI-M

June 23, 2009 11:54 IST
A major uproar against the dominating Prakash Karat lobby in the Communist Party of India-Marxist by the rebels was expected in the first Central Committee meeting since the party's debacle in the Lok Sabha polls.

But after two days of self-introspection, Karat, the party general secretary, retains his hold and instead the West Bengal lobby along with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will now be taking "corrective measures at the organisational and governmental level."

But the Bengal lobby along with some other state leaders have managed to take the debate over the "timing of the decision" to the platform of the next Party Congress -- to be held in 2011.

"We will discuss everything during the next Party Congress. The question about the timing of the support withdrawal will also be discussed," Karat said on Monday.

This, according to a section of the party, is a victory for the Bengal lobby and leaders like Sitaram Yechury.

After the Central Committee on Monday endorsed that the withdrawal of the support to the United Progressive Alliance government on the nuclear deal in July 2008 was correct, a Central Committee member told Business Standard, "No one in a communist party will ever oppose the fight against United States' imperialism. So, everyone endorses the fact that the nuclear deal had to be opposed. But the question is why didn't we plan our exit earlier with more preparation? Why did we allow the Congress to go ahead and negotiate with the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2007?"

Reinstating his hold over the party even after its biggest electoral loss, Karat also said, "I was only responsible for implementation of the party line. In our party, we work on collective responsibility," clearly ruling out any possibility of his reshuffle in the party's top post.

Meanwhile, the rebel lobby also registered its victory in Karat's admission that the call for forming a "Third Alternative government" was wrong.

"The Central Committee felt that it should not have extended the call for building such an alternative to the formation of an alternative government. In the absence of a countrywide alliance and no common policy platform being presented, the call for an alternative government was unrealistic."

Many in the CC meeting had said in a veiled criticism of Karat that the last Party Congress' mandate to pursue a Third Alternative based on ideological platform was overstepped by the central leadership as they tried to form an alternative government.

Maintaining it would pursue for a Third Alternative in the future, the CC resolution said, adding "the CPI-M had called for the formation of a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party alternative. This was a correct tactic. However, such an electoral understanding failed to be a viable and credible alternative at the national level."

Blaming the state units too for the poll debacle, the CC noted in West Bengal, "the political, governmental and organisational reasons" were also responsible for the setback.

"There are shortcomings in the functioning of government, panchayats and municipalities based on a proper class outlook. This is due to the failure of the government in properly implementing various measures, directly concerning the lives of the people. The apprehension about land acquisition has contributed to the alienation amongst some sections of the peasantry," it said.

In Kerala, the CC cited factors like disunity in the ruling Left Democratic Front and the party leadership, the active role of the churches, the "confusion among the people" over association with the People's Democratic Party, "the UDF (United Democratic Front) and media campaign on the SNC-Lavalin case and certain wrong trends within the party organisation" have also had a negative impact.

The CPI-M has convened a meeting of its politburo on July 4 and 5 to discuss specifically the organisational matters in Kerala. But if VS Achuthanandan is removed from the chief minister's chair, his bete noire -- state party chief Pinarai Vijayan -- will also be shown the door. "It will not be a one-sided punitive measure," said another CC member.

BS Reporter