The CPI(M) would prioritise its political activities to defeat the right-wing forces led by the RSS-BJP combine, as it debates to decide a tactical line to face the prevailing political situation in the country, top party leader Sitaram Yechury has said. The CPI(M) Politburo, which would meet here for two days from tomorrow, is expected to again witness an acrimonious debate on whether it should seek the cooperation of all non- Left parties, including the Congress, in this process. The major Left party, which has witnessed a “sharp decline” in its electoral strength since 2005, would chalk out its draft political resolution keeping in mind the priority of defeating the RSS-BJP combine which has grown in strength since the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014. This draft resolution, once finalised by the Central Committee, will be circulated among all party members across the country who would debate it and may move amendments.
All amendments and views expressed by them would be debated and finalised at the CPI(M) Congress in April next year. This line would determine its political tactics for the next three years. Yechury, in an interview to PTI, elaborated on the prevailing political situation and the challenges faced by the Left and said his party “will have to frame its tactical political line depending on the present situation which has worsened since the Modi government came to power”. “The question is of the electoral tactics. That is different from an alternative policy trajectory. The priority whenever electoral battle comes, is to defeat the RSS-BJP, because of all the mayhem they are doing in the country”, the CPI(M) General Secretary said.
Even as the party carries out discussions to frame the draft resolution, differences have cropped on the approach with Yechury’s predecessor Prakash Karat recently saying in an interview that “For us, opposition to neoliberal economic policies is as important as fighting communal forces. We cannot be part of an alliance with the Congress which stands for such policies.” In a note to the Central Committee, Yechury is understood to have stated that “while there should be no electoral understanding with the Congress, the party should seek the cooperation of all non-Left parties to oust the Modi government”.
Asked about it, Yechury said “only the Party Congress is authorised to take a decision regarding finalisation of the political-tactical line we are going to follow for the next three years and these discussions are continuing”. Referring to the political line adopted by the Central Committee (CC) in 2003 which had led the CPI(M) to support a Congress-led government at the Centre, Yechury said such a tactical line was needed to stop the BJP from coming to power.
The then General Secretary, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, had “pursued the line which the CC had taken in 2003 which had led us to support the UPA government from outside. Between 2005 and 2015, the decline in our electoral politics has been very sharp. We can come out of the situation by only strengthening ourselves independently,” Yechury said.
He said the line that the CC had taken at that time was “conditional to those circumstances. The line we have to take now has to be conditioned to existing circumstances.”
“The situation is worse now than what it was then in 2004. There are private armies, so called ‘gau rakshaks’. There was no moral policing squads telling people what they will eat, wear, ‘love jehad’ and the ghastly acts. These are the dangers that need to be fought,” Yechury emphasised. Asserting that increasing the independent strength of the party was the essence of the alternative that CPI(M) wants to build”, he said “beyond that, in the current conjecture, will be how to achieve the objective of defeating BJP”. The Bengal unit feels that the growing communal politics of BJP in West Bengal can be defeated by consolidating the anti-BJP votes in elections, for which all Left and democratic parties including Congress should join hands.
At the last CC meet, some Kerala leaders too had stated that if the party was not seen in the forefront of attempts to prevent the BJP-led government returning to power in 2019, it will lose its support base among the minorities. This argument seems to strengthen the line taken by Yechury that while there should be no electoral understanding with the Congress, the party should seek cooperation of all non-Left parties to take forward its fight against “communal and authoritarian” forces led by the RSS-BJP. The Tamil Nadu unit also seems to have come to terms with this understanding after the CPI(M) extended support to DMK, a Congress ally, in the R K Nagar assembly by-election.
Leaders of this unit also feel the party cannot take a stand of not cooperating with the DMK as it is in alliance with the Congress. “It will be impractical and politically foolish”, a senior leader had said. With the “growing communal and authoritarian” tendencies, it is likely that states like Bengal and many in Kerala and Tamil Nadu will favour removing a clause in the draft on “not having any political understanding with Congress” from the draft political resolution, paving a way for consolidation of secular forces against the RSS-BJP.