CPM’s Prakash Karat Plays Down Differences With Sitaram Yechury

CPM’s Prakash Karat Plays Down Differences With Sitaram Yechury
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NEW DELHI: Senior CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat played down differences with party general secretary Sitaram Yechury over the issue of having an understanding with the Congress to fight the BJP, insisting that divergence of views reflected inner-party democracy.

After days of veiled attacks between him and Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat claimed that the media has been portraying “differing political views” as “personality clashes” and “personal differences”.

Without naming Mr Yechury, he, however, said that those “who violate the collective decisions of the party” are “considered to be factional”.

“A majority view, or, a minority view, within a committee on a political question is not to be seen as a line up of two factions. It is only those who violate the collective decisions of the party and band together for extraneous reasons who are considered to be factional,” he said in an article.

The article came days after the party’s Central Committee meeting in Kolkata which saw the differences coming out in the open over the political-tactical line to be finally adopted by the CPI(M) at its Congress in April.

A group led by party general secretary Sitaram Yechury had pitched for an understanding with “secular parties” along with the Congress to fight the “communal agenda of the BJP”.

However, the policy draft in this regard was rejected at the meeting, with Mr Karat among those who were not in its favour.

In the article titled ‘Exercising Inner-Party Democracy’ in the latest issue of party organ ‘People’s Democracy’, Mr Karat emphasised that factionalism and factional groupings were “impermissible” in accordance with the CPI(M) Constitution.

Accusing the media of creating misinformation about a split within the party, the former CPI(M) general secretary said the reports had reduced inner-party democracy of the party to personality clashes and personal differences.

He alleged that most media persons were either ill informed about the style of functioning of the CPI(M) as a communist party. “They utilised the occasion to draw motivated and distorted conclusions intended to depict the party leadership in a poor light,” he alleged.

Interestingly, in an earlier interview, Mr Karat had said, “for us, opposition to neo-liberal economic policies is as important as fighting communal forces. We cannot be part of an alliance with the Congress which stands for such policies”.

His declaration regarding the political line of the party had come much before the Central Committee meet which was specially called to discuss the draft of the party resolution chalking out the political line it would take for the coming three years.

This had fuelled speculation about emergence of factional fighting within the CPI(M).

The declaration by Prakash Karat was seen as unprecedented, as the Central Committee, the highest body of CPI(M) had then not even started its discussion on the draft.

However, in his latest article Mr Karat said that “on political issues, different views can be expressed, either an individual member or a group of members can present their political views before the committee”.

In an effort to put a stop on media reporting on the difference of opinions in his party, Mr Karat in the latest article also accused the media of falsely portraying factions within the party.

“A common theme found in the media, particularly in the media in Kerala and West Bengal, was to portray that two drafts have been presented by two ‘factions’. Some went further to depict it as a clash between two individuals, in this case, the current general secretary and the former general secretary. Such a depiction is baseless and wrong as discussions on differing political views and approaches within the framework of inner-party democracy are reduced to personality clashes and so-called personal differences,” Mr Karat has argued.

Sitaram Yechury had insisted that he had offered to resign at the party meet after the rejection of the draft, contrary to what Mr Karat had claimed in a media interview.

PTI