The CPIM has decided that there will be no alliance and no understanding with the Congress. While this hardline was projected by Prakash Karat, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury had presented a slightly different formulation. A voting took place in the CPI(M) Central Committee (CC) and Karat’s line recieved thumbs up after Yechury was beaten by a 55-31 vote. It has been learnt that Yechury offered to resign, but was asked to continue by the Politburo (PB) and the CC, the highest policymaking body of the party.
Yechury, asked if he had offered to resign after the defeat of his line, said: “I am here as the general secretary because the party said that I should continue as the general secretary… I am here ahe general secretary of the CPI(M) because the party PB and the Central Committee said I should be the general secretary of the CPI(M),” Yechury said at a press conference at the West Bengal CPM’s Alimuddin Street headquarters. The “final authority will be the Party Congress”, Yechury said. “Let’s go to the Party Congress, the Party Congress will take the final call.”
The party Central Committee currently has 91 members, apart from 10 special and permanent invitees. Yechury could manage to get the support of only about a third of those who voted. These numbers could also be a significant early pointer to the outcome of his re-election bid in April, when his first term ends. According to the constitution of the CPM, a general secretary can get up to three terms.
The CC, which met in Kolkata for three days, considered two drafts of the political resolution to be placed before the Party Congress: the Karat draft, backed by the majority in the PB, and the minority draft that Yechury moved. The drafts agreed on their assessment of the international situation, but differed in their approach towards the Congress party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
During the three days of debate, the West Bengal comrades backed Yechury, while the Kerala side rallied behind Karat. The only exceptions were V S Achuthanandan (who did not travel to Kolkata), and perhaps, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac, who left Kolkata in the morning without participating in the vote. At the end of the debate, those backing the Yechury line moved amendments, all more or less seeking deletion of the word “understanding” from the majority draft. Three of the amendments were put to vote. All were defeated.