Party admits mass alienation

Party admits mass alienation

Party admits mass alienation

The CPM leadership might publicly talk about turning tables on the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal and revive industrialisation but behind closed doors, its senior leaders admit to “alienation from the masses” which has set in since 2008.

The matter came up for discussion at the ongoing party plenum here and found a prominent mention in the draft organisation report.

The report, placed before nearly 450 delegates congregating from across India, became a subject of heated debate and discussion on Day 1 of the four-day plenum that started on December 27.

Soon after former party general secretary Prakash Karat read out the 12-page report, heated deliberations began with members, particularly from West Bengal, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, taking the lead.

The report stated in clear terms that the central leadership was responsible for the party’s failures in Bengal and the erosion in mass base across the country.

The topic comes up for discussion at a time when the CPM is taking all available measures to reach out to the voters ahead of the Assembly polls scheduled in Bengal and Kerala.

A senior Bengal leader called the report a “strongly worded document that reveals a kind of self-admission and self-criticism not seen in earlier years”.

“There were no amendments recommended to this particular subject by any delegate. Everybody is hoping the central leadership has woken up to the ground realities,” the leader said.

A delegate informed that the report states in unequivocal terms the CPM has lost touch with masses the day it stopped collecting small subscription from people.

“The process was replaced with donations from realtors and other businessmen, who were trying to keep the party in good humour for personal gains.

 Branch offices gave responsibility of collecting donations to some influential locals, who were made members for the heft they carried,” admitted the delegate, pointing out that the report has noted this in details.

CPM accepts amendments on inner democracy

Noticing the mood among delegates over two prominent topics of democratic centralisation and ageing leadership, the CPM admitted amendments on the sensitive subjects to the draft resolution at its ongoing four-day plenum in Kolkata.

The admission came from none other than former general secretary Prakash Karat on the penultimate day.

Karat said the draft resolution was placed before delegates, around 440 of who have come from different parts of India, to present their observations and grievances in free-wheeling sessions to decide on organisational issues and adopt amendments to drafts of the resolution and the report.

“Discussions have been free, frank, critical. Criticism was encouraged. The delegates discussed and gave directions or endorsements on how to take things forward,” he said.

While there have been complaints over lack of democratic centralisation, Karat said the party needed to work on “strengthening inner-party democracy” and the process of “institutionalising democratic practices” will be looked into.

“Concrete steps are being taken” towards ensuring that decisions are not imposed from the top, he said. He, however, added: “There are minority opinions at all levels which are recorded and sent to the higher committee for consideration.”

Former Lok Sabha MP from Bengal Samik Lahiri raised the matter on Day 2 of the plenum, placing it in a “very critical tone”, sources said.

Ageing leadership
The other touchy subject of an ageing leadership was raised by P Rajeev of Kerala, a former Rajya Sabha member, who asked the grey-haired members of Politburo and Central Committee, the party’s two top decision-making bodies, why they were unwilling to pass on the charge to the younger generation.

Karat also said the party is also thinking of arranging retirement benefits for elderly members. Stating that “like always, the party will take care of those who are old”, Karat said the party is looking at providing such benefits “so that they don’t end up on the streets”.

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