CPM toughens stand on Congress

K A Johny

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CPM national general secretary Sitaram Yechury inaugrates CPM state conference in Ernakulam. Photo: P Pradeep

Ernakulam: If there was a message on Congress in the inaugural speech by Sitaram Yechuri at the CPM state meet in Ernakulam on Tuesday it was that the party would be keeping a measured distance from the grand old party of India. Yechuri made it a point not to mention the name of the Indian National Congress even for once in his one and half hour long delivery. The General Secretary was vociferous about CPM's fight against the Hindutva agenda of BJP and RSS, but he didn't utter a word on the relevance of Congress in this pan Indian battle.

This was not the scenario in the last CPM state meet that was held in Thrissur in 2018. There were reports then that Yechuri had serious differences of opinion with the Kerala leaders on the tactical approach to be adopted towards Congress. Some media even reported that Yechuri reminded the Kerala unit that CPM didn't mean Communist Party of Kerala Marxist. Yechuri had then pointed out that Congress was the CPM's main rival only in Kerala. It was the line taken by Yechuri that was finally adopted in the last party congress held in Hyderabad. The tie-up between Congress and CPM in the last Bengal assembly election also toed this line.

The draft policy resolution that was adopted by the CPM central committee has taken a critical stand on Congress. It has termed the main opposition party of Indian politics as ' weakened.' The resolution makes it crystal clear that Congress is not in a position to lead the fight against BJP and RSS.

It is a well-known fact that the Kerala unit of CPM has been against the stand taken by the party's Bengal unit. The Kerala leaders have made it known that the tie-up between Congress and CPM in Bengal didn't benefit the party in any way. It has also been pointed out by the CPM leaders of the state including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that Congress is adopting a soft Hindutva stand which will only help BJP in the long run.

The final decision on the draft resolution policy will be taken by the party congress to be held in Kannur next month. There has been some change in the CPM's approach to Congress after the Hyderabad party congress. The draft political resolution points out that there is no need for a political alliance with Congress right now. It puts forth that the tactical approach towards Congress can be adopted in accordance with the political atmosphere of each and every state.

The tone and tenor of Yechuri's inaugural speech reveal that Yechuri himself is having second thoughts on his stand towards Congress. He openly admitted on Tuesday that it is the party's Kerala unit that has emerged as the most significant force in the fight against Hindutva. And he made it a point to exhort the party workers to do whatever they can in strengthening the Kerala Unit.

The message is quite loud and clear. The Kerala unit of CPM has become the most powerful voice within CPM. The party is now dependent on the Kerala unit for its survival in national politics. It is now beyond doubt that there won't be any conflict of interest between the party's central and state leaderships. The central leadership of the party has realised that they can't alienate the Kerala state leadership on its stand on Congress.

Yechuri may still want to remind the Kerala unit of CPM of the party's pan Indian image. But for the time being, he knows that the state unit has grown beyond the control and command of the central leadership and it will be in mutual interest that the Kerala unit is kept in good humour.

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