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Is CPI(M) on the Brink of Another Historic Blunder ?

CPI(M) is in the middle of a battle between outdated theorists and practical pragmatists. Who will prevail?

Today, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is going into huddle over its prospective political and tactical line at Hyderabad. After Congress and BJP, CPI(M) is the only major player in federal polity in terms of organisational presence. It is the only party that can play a role in formation of governments and it has been playing that role since its inception from 1964. Immediately after its formation, the major cause of fissures within the CP(M) was on the question whether to join or facilitate alternative political structures to undermine the Grand Old Party of India. Such an important outfit in Indian politics going to discuss which path to chart is undoubtedly an important event to be observed. Moreover, it is a must in the light of ongoing animated discussion within and outside the party circles.

There is a procedure for conducting the Party Congress in CPM. This procedure is governed by the modalities laid down in the Party Constitution. The mandate of the Party Congress is to determine the political and tactical line that is to be implemented for the coming three years and of course, a review of efficacy of the tactical line adopted in the last Congress will also be reviewed followed by electing new Central Committee to govern the affairs of the Party and a new General Secretary. They had such a lengthy and structured process. Prior to the Congress, a draft resolution will be released which used to be discussed threadbare by the Party rank and file. The draft resolution consists of three major sections. International, national and proposed political line for the forthcoming period.

Contrary to the nature of the CPM, this time, the discussion focused more on election of General Secretary and less on the proposed tactical line. This is for the first time in the recent history of the Party that the whole nation is looking at who will be crowned in the Hyderabad Conference. There is a point in this development. General Secretary, being General who leads the army of Party workers for the desired results and thus the tactical line to be adopted by the Congress will have its mark of the General Secretary elect.

Here in this case of 22nd Congress draws attention not because of its regular procedure but because of the fact that the incumbent General Secretary’s opinion is at variance with that of the one adopted by majority vote at Kolkata and later modified to some extent. The way the differences emerged in public in an animated discussions resembles guerilla war, between the hard core theorists, and pragmatic political scientists in the Party. The draft adopted with majority vote, erroneously concluded on two key aspects that bore their imprint on the internal discussions in the Party. First one, it attributed the current state of affairs to the political tactical line pursued over the last two and half decades. Secondly, an understanding that BJP is not a fascist force and forget about the consolidation, emergence of fascism in India is next to null due to its complexity of linguistic and regional diversity apart from religious diversity.

The ongoing developments in governance in all the BJP ruled states prove that the above assessment is erroneous. Coming to the first point, one should differentiate between the role of Left in India under Congress and BJP rule. Under UPA 1 where the Left extended an outside support resulted in adaptation of several Rights based legislations starting from Right to Information to Right to Fair Compensation to the Farmers. The BJP government made its best attempt to scuttle those laws and make them ineffective at the very least. An interesting analysis of Acts passed by Modi  government by reading the Aims and Objectives, will prove this assessment correct. So far, no single enactment that was passed by the Parliament aimed at meeting the issues of living of majority population. The three monumental errors in policy making, GST, Note Ban and Aadhaar turned out to be worst examples of law making in India not only in independent India but also since colonial era.

On the economic front, Congress could be cowed down by the Left when the former attempted to privatise Air India, or Naiveli Lignite Corporation or made an attempt to sell off BHPV to Adani. The Left worked as bulwark under UPA and controlled Congress from moving beyond the public mandate. The CPM could interfere a number of times on the question of EPF interest rate or forced the UPA into retreat on new pension scheme. This is what the Left could do with increased its numbers in Parliament and allowing or helping to elect a government that has at least a token respect to the law of the land. But that is not the case when it comes to BJP. Those who categorise both BJP and Congress two sides of same coin should understand this key difference.

Coming to the fascistic nature of BJP and RSS, no one needs to harbor any doubts. No member of parliament under Indira or Rajiv regime made such an open remarks against redrawing Constitution, nor demanded to make Bhagvad Gita as national book. What else these moves and measures by the active support of those holding positions in governance, nothing but fascist tendencies?

This is what the difference of understanding between the two factions that are fortifying into different camps making the Congress, an event one should closely watch and comment upon. There is a personal angle to the animated debate within the Party. Had the minority line which only asks to remove the word “understanding” from majority resolution, prevails in the Congress and it becomes the approved tactical line that is to be pursued in 2019 elections, it would be an obvious fact that the tally of CPI(M) in Parliament and some of the legislative assemblies would go up and leave history a valuable reference point to compare both the regimes of Prakash Karat and Sitaram as General Secretaries. This is what it looks like when an impartial observer closely dissects the ongoing developments in the CPI(M).

Some of the top leadership are campaigning tirelessly to ensure that the current line of political action proposed by former General Secretary be adopted in the ensuing Congress at Hyderabad. There are rumours that the Prakash faction made an explicit attempt at the stage of delegates’ (s)election to the Congress. It appears that a calculated attempt is being made to dub those who argues BJP/RSS regime of the day as fascist as revisionists and thereby showing them in bad light so as the Party rank and file desist from engaging with them. Even an insider, who don’t to be named, clearly shared his encounters with a senior leader in Delhi who commented, “ Sitaram is transforming the Party into tail of Congress and adopting revisionist approach against which the majority is fighting”. In this process they even rile against those who differed from the intent of the resolution adopted at Kolkata and batted that it is too early to close doors on the question of alliances and simply made an attempt to reason their position. This is what the majority camp took advantage of and dumped them as revisionists. The so called leader must have forgotten to note that whatever the majority decides that becomes mandate in CPM and once such decision is arrived, much scope is not left to do as per the whims and fancies of the General Secretary of the Day. This is proven fact in case of P. Sundarayya, Harikishan Singh Surjeet as well.

Given this context, the outcome from Hyderabad Congress is much awaited. The key irrationality of the draft political line that is scripted in the Draft is that they want to defeat BJP but don’t want to have any kind of electoral understanding with Congress. But this is toned down when the recently met Central Committee decided to vote to all such candidates in Karnataka who are capable of defeating BJP, even if such capable candidates belongs to Congress Party. When such stand can be taken in Karnataka, what hampers the Party leadership to take similar stand in all other states, beyond rhyme and reason, except hypocrisy. Once hypocrisy seeps into minds of leadership, any organisation will move far way from the ground reality. Whether the case of CPM is also going to be the same is going to be decided by its 22nd Congress. If it is, then it is going to be a surest recipe of CPM committing another historical blunder.

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