Agencies, Kolkata/New Delhi
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has offered to step down as head of the Left party after his proposal to align with the Congress for the 2019 general elections failed to muster crucial support in the Polit Bureau, the party’s highest decision-making forum.
Despite his resignation offer, Mr Yechury was told by the Polit Bureau, the party’s highest body, that he cannot quit.
According to sources, Mr Yechury’s offer during the three-day central committee meeting which concluded in Kolkata on Sunday, reveals the deep cleavages existing within the party on the way ahead.
Mr Yechury has veered towards the idea that political understanding with all secular Left and democratic forces, including the Congress, was the way out to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The General Secretary is convinced that without entering into an alliance with the Congress to take on the BJP, it will not stand a chance. The proposal was discussed at the party’s central committee meeting.
According to unconfirmed reports, 55 of those present at the meeting negated the proposal while there were 31 votes in favour of the proposal. The nay-sayers, primarily from the Kerala unit, were not in agreement with Mr Yechury that the only option to defeat the BJP was to align with Congress. The Tripura unit too, which sees the Congress as a rival, also favoured Mr Karat’s resolution.
Two different drafts tabled for the political resolution, to decide the party’s way forward for the next three years, while both identified the BJP and its ideological mentor RSS as ‘the biggest threat the country is facing at present’ disagreed on the way to defeat this force.
Mr Yechury later told reporters that he was still the general secetary of the party ‘as the Polit Bureau and the central committee says that I should be the general secretary of the CPI(M), so this answers your question.’ He did not elaborate.
Sunday’s meeting of the party central committee to consider a possible alignment with the Congress comes ahead of the party congress due to be held in April.
Mr Yechury, regarded as more pragmatic than his predecessor Prakash Karat, has in recent times taken a softer line towards Congress compared to the former general secretary, a hardliner in this matter, who does not believe there is much difference between the Congress and the BJP.