THE Communist Party of India (Marxist) 22nd Congress was convened in Hyderabad recently. The Congress elected Sitaram Yechury as the party’s general secretary for a second term. There are two obvious groups in the party. One is led by Yechury and the other by Prakash Karat. Prakash is known to be a stickler for the rules. Prakash is related to NDTV’s Prannoy Roy as his wife Brinda Karat is the sister of Prannoy’s wife Radhika Roy. On his part, Yechury made it clear to the CPM cadre that the party does not belong to one state, a veiled reference at Karat’s influence in Kerala. Yechury worked hard and gathered the support of 16 states to de-throne the dominance of Kerala and Karat. Yechury and Karat supporters had a tug of war in the party congress. What should be the CPM’s political line in the current political situation? Should the party adopt Yechury or Karat line. The Karat lobby wanted to forbid the party from having any alliance with the Congress. At one point, matters got so heated that a delegate from Punjab threatened to sit on protest, then and there. Meanwhile, a new voice within the party Uday Narvekar stood up and said, “My claim is that if the party follows the Karat line even for mere next three years, then its name will have to be changed from CPM to CPI.” And then Narvekar outlined the new definition of CPI – “Communist Party Irrelevant”, that is, then the party will not have any relevance in Indian politics. After this, the party decided on following the ‘Yechury Line’. The final compromise was the deletion of the sentence that forbade the party from reaching any “understanding with the Congress”. After the victory, Yechury flew to London to celebrate 200 years of party ideologue Karl Marx at a new library housing Marx’s work and to meet his daughter who is pursuing higher studies.
VOL. 12 | ISSUE 2 | MAY 2018