CPM calls BJP enemy no 1, rules out pact with Congress

New Delhi: In a setback to hopes of Opposition unity before the 2019 general elections, a draft political resolution to be taken up at the CPI(M) party congress in April has ruled out any truck with the Congress despite declaring BJP as “enemy number one”.

The draft, which was released on Tuesday for public debate, appeared to be self-contradictory on many issues as it could not provide a vision for defeating the BJP without any electoral understanding with the Congress, which is the biggest Opposition party at the national level. Also, there was no clarity on post-poll options for the party.

The so-called “political-tactical” line of the party in fact seemed confused on how to deal with the Congress which it branded as a party which represents the interests of the “bourgeois-landlord” classes.

The document said that the Congress professes to be secular but it has proved to be incapable of consistently fighting the communal forces.

The document said, “The main task is to defeat the BJP and its allies by rallying all the secular and democratic forces. However, this has to be done without having an understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress.”

In an apparent contradiction, a few sentences later, the draft said, “Appropriate electoral tactics to maximise the pooling of anti-BJP votes should be adopted”. It offered no explanation as to how anti-BJP votes can be maximised without aligning with the Congress.

Sources said that the final draft is a “substantial climb down” from the majority draft circulated at the Central Committee meeting last month and has gone through at least six revisions. At least two paras on alliances with regional parties have been deleted.

Factions led by party general secretary Sitaram Yechury and his predecessor and Politburo member Prakash Karat have been locked in a bitter debate over whether or not to align with the Congress in 2019.

Many, however, see this as a battle of personalities and a turf war with drafts circulated by both at the Central Committee meeting having very little difference and agreeing in principle that the party’s main objective is to defeat the BJP.

In January, the Central Committee approved a “no alliance, no understanding with the Congress” line advocated by Mr Karat, rejecting a slightly different formulation put forward by Mr Yechury by a 55-31 vote.

The final draft exhibits interesting coinage of phrases as far as the BJP was concerned. Without branding the BJP as a fascist party, the draft identified the RSS as a fascist force which was guiding it: “The BJP is no ordinary bourgeois party as the fascistic RSS guides and dominates it. When the BJP is in power, the RSS gets access to the instruments of state power and the state machinery”.

There has been a divergence of views between Mr Yechury and Mr Karat on whether the Narendra Modi government is exhibiting “authoritarian” tendencies or a “movement towards fascism”.

Supporters of Mr Yechury had argued that if the BJP is branded fascist then its “communal and fascist agenda” will have to be countered through broad-based alliances.

The draft will next be taken up at the party congress in Hyderabad in April. Sources said that amendments can be moved to the existing document by individuals as well as state units.