Cong defeat in Karnataka reignites differences in CPM?

At a time that CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury is coordinating with the Opposition to stall the BJP's plans to hang on to power in Karnataka, hard-liner Prakash Karat appears to have indicated the revival of differences over the party's relationship with the Congress.

The indications came in the latest editorial in party mouthpiece 'Peoples Democracy' edited by Karat, whose anti-Congress line could not muster support at the CPI(M) Party Congress in Hyderabad last month though it had the previous Central Committee's endorsement, when it argued that the Karnataka results underline Congress' "continuing inability" to counter the BJP-RSS "politically, ideologically and organisationally".

Describing the results as a "big blow" to the Congress, which was reduced to 78 MLAs from 122 in the previous Assembly, it questioned Gandhi's visits to temples and mutts during campaigning. This has "proved to be a flawed and compromising approach" to counter the Hindutva forces, the editorial said, as it urged the Left forces to "draw the correct conclusions" from the election.

It also sought to equate the Congress and the BJP when it said that the Modi government is aggressively pursuing the very neo-liberal policies which the Congress stands for. The only positive outcome the editorial sees in the election is the “quick support” offered by the Congress to the JD(S) to form the government after the BJP emerged as the single-largest party.

The editorial came at a time when Yechury was holding discussions to convince the JD(S) leadership, which was speculated to be warming up to the BJP, not to dump the secular camp and strategise the formation of a non-BJP government. It is also seen as an attempt by the Karat faction to reignite the debate on the issue to put opponents into a corner.

The party has been witnessing a tussle between supporters of Yechury and Karat for the past one year on whether the CPI(M) should have an understanding with the Congress in its fight to overthrow the BJP in the next Lok Sabha elections. Yechury, who argues for a broad-based understanding with all secular parties that includes Congress, had the last laugh when the Party Congress amended the draft political resolution under pressure from delegates to keep the options open for an electoral understanding with the Congress.

Yechury had maintained that the party is united and that the Party Congress has given a direction in black and white and there was no ambiguity that appropriate electoral tactics should be taken at the appropriate time.

Supporters of Yechury argue that one should pool in all available resources, including the Congress, to take on the "communal" BJP but agree that it should not be through being part of a political front or alliance. However, the Karat faction is against any links with the Congress. 

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Cong defeat in Karnataka reignites differences in CPM?

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