CPM plans shift in electoral stance at 20th Plenum

CPM plans shift in electoral stance at 20th Plenum

With West Bengal and Kerala, the two states where the CPM has any significant presence going to polls in 2016, the party is looking at adopting “suitable electoral tactics”, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury said here on the eve of its 20th Plenum.

The four-day plenum starting on Sunday is being held after 37 years (the last one was held at Salkia in Howrah in 1978).

The congregation will see the party charting out its future course of action, including the electoral tactics for Bengal and Kerala. The plenum will also take a look at the draft review report on the ‘political-tactical line’ the party had adopted at its 21st Congress in April this year.

The report, published in the December issue of CPM’s theoretical quarterly, “The Marxist”, suggested the party should be open to “flexible tactics”, looking at possibilities of “swift changes in the political situation”. Insiders said discussions over this in relation to Bengal and Kerala will dominate the sessions over the next four days. The report suggested striking “an understanding with regional parties” at a time when the Left in Bengal is trying to work out a pre-poll alliance with the Congress.

While the 20th Plenum will be the party’s first major introspective session since Yechury took over in April, insiders informed the plenum is being organised to identify reasons behind the party’s depleting support and to find ways of reconnecting with new-age voters.

Yechury, however, claimed in early December that the erosion in Bengal had stopped to “a great extent” and it was of no concern any more. It was a worry for leaders as the CPM-led Left Front faced a steady loss in its support base since 2008 despite being in power since continuously since 1977. The erosion had continued even after 2011, when the Trinamool Congress (TMC) toppled it.

The party also lost a significant support base across the nation with its present vote-share hovering around 5.6 percent nationally and with just nine MPs in Parliament. Yechury told reporters on Saturday that the plenum’s purpose will be to strengthen the organisation.

Veteran party leader Biman Bose said the plenum will be a platform to “discuss all that is required by the party to regain its mass popularity.” A senior leader from Bengal said a resolution is likely to be adopted on December 31.

Amid speculation of a possible understanding with the Congress for the Bengal polls, Yechury said the matter will be discussed after the Kolkata plenum but added that the party is open to alliance with other democratic forces.

 “This is a very important battle for us in Bengal, which will decide not only the state’s future but also restoration of democracy, law and order and rule of law,” Yechury told in a press conference.  The CPM leader also said the  TMC and BJP were “made for each other” in politics and alleged that a “match-fixing” is on between them.

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