Faced with the prospect of political obscurity, the CPI-M is underlining the need for a wider Left unity. For the first time, the Marxist party has invited smaller Left parties for the inaugural of the Party Congress at Visakhapatnam.
Earlier, the invitation was extended only to the CPI general secretary. But, this time the CPI-M has decided to play host to leaders of even the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) besides the CPI-ML and SUCI. While Debrata Biswas will represent the AIFT, from RSP Abani Roy will attend the inaugural of the CPM Congress on Tuesday. CPI-ML general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya may not be able to be present but his party will be representated by Kavita Krishnan while SUCI’s Prabhash Ghosh will attend the inaugural session of the CPM’s 21st Party Congress.
“Its a move towards the clear aim of broader Left unity. These known and active Left parties should be invited and the CPM has done well to invite them,” said veteran Communist AB Bardhan, former CPI general secretary. The CPI will be represented by its general secretary Sudhakar Reddy at the CPM Congress. The CPI pursued the tradition of inviting leaders of the smaller left parties besides CPM at the inaugural of its six-day Party Congress.
The leaders of all the the parties sharing dais would send a message to the party’s rank and file that the Left was united in its fight against “communal forces”, sources said. The Party Congress is the first after the Left’s worse ever performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, reducing the CPM’s tally to nine from the record 44 a decade ago.
However, the highlight of the Congress would be the change in CPM general secretary. While polit bureau member and Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury has emerged front runner to take over from Prakash Karat, the name of S Ramachandran Pillai, also a polit bureau member, is not being ruled out in party circles. If two names are in the fray, it could compel voting, for the first time in the election of a general secretary in the party. But according to sources, this may not be required.
Karat, who has served three terms which is the maximum the party constitution permits, will step down.
The Party Congress, which meets once in three years, will focus on regaining the Left’s lost hold over its former bastions– West Bengal and Kerala. The BJP, encouraged by its membership figures, has set its eyes on the two states, which head for elections next year.