Karat says Yechury didn't offer to resign; I did, counters latter

Karat says Yechury didn't offer to resign; I did, counters latter

I did, counters CPM gen secy, as tussle intensifies

Karat says Yechury didn't offer to resign; I did, counters latter

The tussle in CPM top leadership after a contentious voting in Central Committee over political line aggravated on Tuesday with senior leader Prakash Karat saying General Secretary Sitaram Yechury did not offer to resign, only to be contradicted by the latter.

Yechury's remarks came after Polit Bureau (PB) member Karat, also a former general secretary, told a web portal that there was no offer of resignation from the general secretary in the Central Committee (CC) after the rejection of his line on party's relationship with the Congress in the fight against the BJP.

"I had offered to resign both in the Polit Bureau and Central Committee. Both the CC and PB unanimously said such a move will send a wrong signal that the party will be seen as divided on the eve of party congress and Tripura elections. I abided by the decision," Yechury told DH.

Karat emphasised that the party runs under a collective leadership, and replied to a question whether Yechury offered to resign, "no, he did not offer to resign." Asked whether the defeat of the Yechury line in a voting undermines his position, Karat said, "We don't look at it that way. In our party, general secretary is not the supreme leader. We have a collective way of functioning..."

Yechury, however, said in a press conference in Kolkata on Sunday, "I am here because the PB and CC asked him to continue as General Secretary.

Factions fight

The usually media-shy Karat contradicting Yechury and the latter's response within hours are seen as an intensification of the tussle with the Kerala unit-dominated Karat faction and supporters of Yechury.

Sources said the Karat faction-dominated PB followed by the CC rejected Yechury's propositions like sending both the drafts - of Karat and Yechury - to the party congress.

Yechury told both the PB and CC during the three-day Central Committee meeting in Kolkata that if his contentions are binned, it would be "untenable" for him to continue as general secretary. However, sensing trouble, Karat faction then argued against it as it would send out a signal of division in the party.

Sources said the divide in the party is "much more vertical" compared to the previous instances when general secretaries P Sundarayya and Harkishen Singh Surjeet were on the side of minorities.

Sundarayya was against joining hands with Jan Sangh during Emergency while Surjeet had argued for allowing Jyoti Basu to become prime minister in the United Front government.