Will it be Sitaram Yechury versus Manik Sarkar at CPM party Congress meet?
Ahead of the 22nd triennial party Congress, the last one before the 2019 general elections, internal strife within CPM has intensified, both over how to tackle existential crises and the electoral obliteration of the party except in Kerala, as well as over leadership issues within the party.
While general secretary Sitaram Yechury is seeking re-election, sections within the party are believed to be working on plans to unseat him, considered a controversial figure for having toed a more “pragmatic line” and having proposed a broad political understanding, including with Congress, to defeat BJP in the state polls ahead of the general elections.
With differences of opinion on Yechury’s stand still persisting, opposing sections are believed to be pushing for the candidature of former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar, or politburo member Brinda Karat, for the next general secretary, CPM’s highest elected office.
At present, the CPM electoral college is evenly divided between the Kerala and West Bengal factions, which makes it difficult for one or the other camp to come up trumps outright. With the central committee and politburo dominated by leaders from Kerala and West Bengal, sources said hectic lobbying was underway.
Coinciding with the steady electoral decline of CPM, the West Bengal unit has also seen a decrease in membership. Kerala, the only state where CPM remains in power, is now the only region where the membership figures have swelled, and could stage an upset for the West Bengal unit at the party congress.
While the Congress, the highest decision-making forum, will deliberate and pass 25 resolutions, it will also elect its general secretary and the party’s central committee on the last day of the meeting. Yechury will deliver the inaugural address on April 18 and the Congress will conclude with a public meeting on April 22.
Nearly 780 CPM delegates from across the country and 70 party observers will participate in the national congress.