Sitaram Yechury, CPM general secretary.
Sitaram Yechury, CPM general secretary.

Sitaram Yechury fails to rally CPM for a political alliance with Congress

Sitaram Yechury, CPM general secretary, had backed the idea of an alliance with Congress, a faction led by former general secretary Prakash Karat was against it

New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM has formally ruled out a political alliance with the Congress party.

However, the draft political resolution released on Tuesday keeps the options open on “cooperation" with the Congress and other regional parties in Parliament to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party, identified as the “main threat".

It also sets the stage for the opposition to put up a united front in the second half of the budget session beginning on 5 March.

In its once-in-three-years draft political resolution, the CPM discounted the possibility of entering into an electoral alliance with the Congress. But, it added, the ruling BJP and Congress cannot be treated as equals and described the BJP as “the main threat".

The draft political resolution will now be sent to the CPM state committees for discussion and will be finalized at the party congress scheduled to be held from 18 to 22 April in Hyderabad. The state committees and party members have until 20 March to send their inputs.

“Our tactical approach should be to cooperate with the Congress and other secular opposition parties in Parliament on agreed issues. Outside Parliament, we should cooperate with all secular opposition forces for a broad mobilisation of people against the communal threat. We should foster joint actions of class and mass organisations, in such a manner that can draw in the masses following the Congress and other bourgeois parties," it said.

However, the party ruled out any understanding or alliance with the Congress.

“Given the experience of the nearly four years rule of the (Narendra) Modi Government it is imperative to defeat the BJP government in order to isolate the Hindutva communal forces and reverse the anti-people economic policies. Thus, the main task is to defeat the BJP and its allies by rallying all the secular and democratic forces. However, this has to be done without having an understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress party," the draft resolution added.

The party leadership was divided over the issue of an alliance with the Congress. While CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury had backed the idea of an alliance, a faction led by former general secretary Prakash Karat was against it. The division mirrors the contradictions the CPM has been facing at the ground level. In 2016, the CPM contested the West Bengal assembly elections in an understanding with the Congress and simultaneously it contested Kerala assembly elections against the Congress.

“There are other regional parties which have not joined hands with the BJP. We should try and develop united actions on people’s issues, against communalism and authoritarian attacks with these parties wherever possible," the draft resolution said.

The CPM, which is currently in power in Kerala and Tripura, has faced a drastic decline in electoral fortunes in the last few years. The party now has only nine members in the Lok Sabha and seven in the Rajya Sabha.

“The party will give priority to developing and building the independent strength of the party. It will work to broaden and strengthen Left unity," the resolution said.

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