Sitaram Yechury re-elected CPI (M) chief after Manik Sarkar bows out

Friend in Bengal foe in Kerala The Congress question roils the CPM

Sitaram Yechury was re-elected as the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Sunday at the 22nd Congress in Hyderabad. The majority of the members of the CPI (M) central committee were of the view that while the Congress could not be equated with the BJP on communalism, it was nevertheless the architect of numerous economic policies that the Left considered profoundly anti-people and that paved the way for the resurgence of Hindutva.

The Congress will not join hands with the CPI (M) in Kerala, KPCC president M.M. Hassan has said. They were from among the 11 who had opposed the change in the political line when the outgoing politburo on Friday chose to factor in Yechury's pragmatic approach on working with other parties, particularly the Congress.

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that the CPI (M) decision to have an understanding with the Congress to fight the BJP is a case of belated wisdom dawned on the party. Emerging, perhaps, as the true inheritor of Harkishan Singh Surjeet's legacy, Yechury, with his cross-party acceptance as mediator, is now poised to play the role his mentor did in the 1996 and 2004 general elections.

At the conclusion of the 22 Congress, the party also elected a new 95-member central committee unanimously. It seems Yechury had already explored ways to ensure that his draft was ultimately accepted by the Party Congress even if it came in the form of amendments in Karat's draft resolution. Yechury said the CPI (M) will chalk out its "electoral-tactical line" on the basis of State-based ground realities. "Sitaram Yechury placed the Central Committee's minority point of view".

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However, on Saturday, the party tweaked it political resolution and kept a door open for joining forces with the Congress to fight the BJP. Thus, the official draft foreclosing the option of any understanding with the Congress, if adopted, would have been an obstacle for the party's efforts to mobilise all likeminded forces against the BJP's alleged policies of communalism that the CPM considers the major challenge facing the nation along with policies of neo-liberalism.

A similar proposal put forward by Yechury was defeated at party's central committee meeting in Kolkata earlier in January this year.

The Karat-led faction supported by the Kerala unit of the CPI (M) had been steadfastly opposed to so much as a political understanding with the congress. Aftermath the heavy defeat of Manik Sarkar government in Tripura, CPM itself is facing a huge crisis.

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