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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 19 New Delhi April 28, 2018

Rationality Wins Over Left Sectarianism

Saturday 28 April 2018



Rationality has emerged victorious over irrational (and infantile) dogmatism and Left sectarianism at the just-concluded 22nd Congress of the CPI-M. The preposterous idea that an all-in unity of secular and democratic forces to take on the BJP and the Sangh Parivar in the next general elections can be consummated by keeping the Congress out of it, has been decisively rejected. Prakash Karat and his charmed circle within the party fought a last-ditch battle by fielding Brinda Karat to hold a press conference in which she insisted that the party line negating electoral understanding with the Congress has not been changed; only the relevant paragraph has been “redrafted”. It fell upon Mohammed Selim to hold another press meet the same day within a few hours to re-assert that the party’s tactical line adopted at the Hyderabad Congress remains unchanged.

The plain and obvious truth is that in the political situation prevailing in the country today, the Hindutva juggernaut can be stopped only by the combined efforts of all secular and democratic parties, organisations and individuals. The idea is not to exclude anyone willing to join the battle but to take on board everyone who is aware of the danger of the democratic polity of our country being subverted and supplanted by a Hindu Rashtra. This is the stark reality. It beats one’s compre-hension why an erudite Marxist ideologue like Prakash Karat wanted to take the party along a suicidal line which would have further isolated it from the people and its fraternal allies, weakening the struggle against communal fascism. Had Karat been able to steamroll his line in the party Congress, the result would have been further desertions from the CPI-M in West Bengal and demoralisation of party workers in State after State.

Day after day, the BJP Ministers, legislators, leaders and party spokespersons are loudly defending the indefensible, the immoral and the downright criminal. They are joining processions demanding release of the accused arrested in cases of gang rape and murder of kids. Their Ministers are saying that a case or two of rape in such a vast country should not be highlighted or made a fuss about. This betrays their mindset, their morals and their culture. Their leaders openly talk about changing the Constitution. And let there be no illusion about it—if they come to power again next time, they will change the Constitution beyond recognition. They will pack all the institutions created by the Constitution, including the highest judiciary, with their own bigoted men.

In the circumstances, it is difficult to understand the rationale of the party line sought to be adopted by Prakash Karat and his followers in the party. In the delegate camps, the rumour was systematically spread that Sitaram Yechury would be replaced as the General Secretary by either Raghavulu or Brinda Karat. That plan of the Karat lobby went awry. Most delegates realised the gravity of the situation and the stupendous challenge confronting the secular and democratic forces and the arduous battles that lie ahead. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Karat line was the liquidationist line. It would have led the party to splendid isolation even within the Left camp.

The situation is so grave indeed that the CPI-ML (Liberation) has, in its 10th party Congress held at Mansa (Punjab) last month (March), decided to support the Congress in those constituencies in the next elections where there would be no Left candidate. It is a tragic irony that when a party like the CPI-ML is shedding its dogmatism to fight the BJP which is “bent upon reshaping India in accordance with the Hindu supremacist blueprint of the RSS”, the Karat lobby is still sticking to its ideological puritanism and dogmatism and treating the Congress as a political pariah. Fortunately, they could not have their way at the party Congress.

A stupendous responsibility devolves on the shoulders of Sitaram Yechury at this critical juncture. He has not only to lead his party and widen its mass base. He has also to act as the best interface of his party with other Opposition parties including the Congress. Factionalism prevented him from getting re-elected to the Rajya Sabha this time but now with the party solidly behind him, the electoral understanding with the Congress having been cleared and most other Opposition parties being favourably disposed toward him, it should be possible for him to enter the Rajya Sabha sooner rather than later. It is going to be a long haul, well beyond 2019. Yechury is expected to play the role of a bridge-builder between different segments of the secular and democratic Opposition parties.

April 24 B.D.G.

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