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CPI-M tries to save its 'heart' and 'skin'

Last updated on: August 12, 2010 14:43 IST

CPI-M tries to save its 'heart' and 'skin'

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The Communist Party of India-Marxist met in Vijayawada last week to confront the many challenges facing the party, especially in its strongholds, Bengal and Kerala.

What did the meeting achieve? Can the CPI-M emerge from the crisis it finds itself in?

The just-concluded meeting of its Extended Central Committee in Vijayawada has been an exercise in soul-searching for the Communist Party of India-Marxist even as its heart (West Bengal) is bleeding.

More than anything else, the entire thrust of the four-day session was on saving the "heart" and, as one senior leader put it, the skin (Kerala) of the party.

An adverse outcome in West Bengal and Kerala, where crucial elections to the state assemblies are due next year, would spell certain doom for the CPI-M in the country.

Hence, the party devoted most of the time during the four days to a 'serious and widespread' discussion on West Bengal and Kerala affairs.

In fact, a separate four-page resolution was passed by the ECC on the two states on the steps needed to be taken for 're-forging' links with the people and thwarting the attempts of 'reactionary forces' to wrest power from the Left.


Image: CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat addresses a public meeting in Vijayawada
Photographs: Snaps India
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Karat, Buddha survive

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The meeting, many presumed, would see CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat in the dock for leading the party on the path of decline.

But that did not happen and Karat had the last laugh.

He successfully pushed through his agenda and the party rallied behind him, with the dissenting voices falling silent, CPI-M sources said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya too had a happy outing as he too reportedly did not face much ire over the sorry state of affairs in his home state, the CPI-M sources added.

Bhattacharya skipped both the inaugural and concluding ceremonies of the meeting though he remained in the city for four days for closed-door sessions.


Image: CPI-M Politburo member Sitaram Yechury at the Vijayawada rally
Photographs: Snaps India
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'Losing elections is not unnatural'

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The CPI-M identified its 'shortcomings' in West Bengal, which are related to politics, organisation and (state) government.

'Re-forging links with people' by countering the 'vilification campaign' of the 'reactionary forces' led by its 'prime enemy', the Trinamool Congress, was what the CPI-M's Extended Central Committee recommended in Vijayawada for its West Bengal unit.

That the CPI-M is certainly worried about the prospects of losing power after three-and-a-half decades in Bengal was reflected in the statements of both General Secretary Prakash Karat and his Politburo colleague Sitaram Yechury, who could not emphatically express confidence over the party's winning prospects.

"Losing elections is not unnatural. We never look at electoral gains," Karat maintained while Yechury did not want to "presume" the outcome of next year's assembly elections in West Bengal.


Image: CPI-M activists in Vijayawada
Photographs: Snaps India
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Rhetoric, rhetoric and more rhetoric

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The 24-page political resolution, adopted by the CPI-M in Vijayawada, was full of rhetoric.

Opposing the 'neo-liberal economic policies,' fighting 'communal forces,' combating the Maoists who it feels have 'degenerated into anarchic violence,' breaking the 'strategic alliance' between India and the US and 'stepping up the struggles' for the cause of the people featured in the political resolution.

Of course, other issues like the international political situation, the global economic crisis, climate change, electoral reforms, Centre-state relations, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the demand for Telangana and other separate states, the 'nexus' of big businesses and politics, the prejudicial role being played by the 'corporate media,' the 'attitude' of regional parties and Left unity also found mention in the resolution.

Photograph: West Bengal's CPI-M boss Biman Bose, CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat, Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.


Image: Biman Bose, Prakash Karat, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Manik Sarkar
Photographs: Snaps India
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11 ways to revive the CPI-M

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The CPI-M listed 11 'tasks' for the party to regain lost ground with 'struggles' on all issues as the central theme.

"We discussed the West Bengal and Kerala issues in great detail for two days," a senior member of the CPI-M's Central Committee pointed out. "The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government's policies and our course of action were also elaborately discussed, but most other issues only found general reference."

By and large, the CPI-M feels, the Vijayawada meeting was a success.

It was for the first time in the party's history that such a meeting of the Extended Central Committee had been called as the CPI-M's national congress, slated for March, will not be held because of the assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala.


Image: CPI-M leaders at the Vijayawada meeting
Photographs: Snaps India
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