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Happy New Year 2020 to all Readers.          January 2020 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Jan' 2020


Will Yechury unite Red brigades ?

Subhrangshu Gupta from Kolkata

The “giant tower” of the Indian communist party (Marxist) has started falling. The party, which during the past four decades or so was virtually directing and dictating the ruling parties on different national and international issues, have now suddenly become redundant. CPM politburo chief and party general secretary Sitaram Yechury suggested that the two communist parties --- the CPI and the CPM --- be united in the interest of both parties and the country's communist movement.
He said the CPM broke away from the parent organisation --- the CPI --- on the controversy over their differences on the bilateral relations between the two communist parties in the then Soviet Union and China. But now both communist parties have severed their differences and stand united. Hence, we in India, both the CPI and the CPM should also get united and strengthen ourselves for our own interests, Yechury pleaded.

Sitaram Yechury The CPM is a breakaway group of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and it was founded at the seventh party congress held in Kolkata between October 31 and November 7, 1964, following their ideological differences with the party's mainstream over their respective allegiance to Soviet Russia and China.
Veteran leaders like Jyoti Basu, Promode Dasgupta, Harkishen Singh Surjeetj and E M S Namboodripad, who were also the CPI's foundermembers along with P Sundariya, B T Randeve, P Ramamurti, M Basavapunnia and A K Gopalan, left the CPI to form the CPM. The CPI was set up on December 26, 1925.
Soon the newly formed party became the most powerful political organisation in different states following large-scale response and support from the educated people and the young generation, particularly university and college students, who readily joined the party and started participating in their movement against capitalism and colonial rules -- -- the struggle against revisionism and sectarianism.
In the states like West Bengal, Kerala and the border state of Tripura, the CPM soon became the vital political political force against the over century-old Indian National Congress, which had been running the country since Independence.

In other states also like Assam, Odisha, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh , Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka, the CPM made their presence felt notably where the cadres favoured it massively.

But with the changing world communist movement vis-a-vis the country's new political scenario, the CPM in the country as a political party suffered heavily since the party leadership, knowingly or unknowingly, did not switch over to the new political system. The party old guards like Jyoti Basu, HK Surjeet and other veterans were hurt and depressed, but they were helpless.

P.Sundarayya, E.M.S.Namboodiripad, Harkishan Singh Surjeet,
Promode Dasgupta, A.K.Gopalan, B.T.Ranadive, M. Basavapunnaiah,
P. Ramamurti, Jyoti Basu
During his life-time, Basu often stressed the necessity of changing the party's ideological and political stands with the changing communist movement in the country and abroad. But the new leadership and young guards did not care to listen to his advice.
During his last days, Basu sometimes feared if the party would last much longer after his death as the new leadership was reluctant to amend the party's traditional ideological stand when the communist movement in the world was changing and the respective communist countries were also amending and changing their stands.
Initially, the party was unwilling to take over power as per the communist doctrine. But in the fifties, the CPM government was formed in Kerala under the chief ministership of Namboodripad. In 1967 and 1969, the CPM participated in the united front governments in West Bengal which were formed jointly by different left parties as anti-Congress forces.

Simultaneously, the CPM government in Tripura was also born when the ruling Congress was defeated in the state elections.

The CPM won a historic victory in West Bengal after defeating the Siddhartha Shankar Ray's Congress government in 1977 and it assumed power under Jyoti Basu's leadership --- the government had been in power for 34 long years and Basu in the Chief Minister's chair for 23 years at a stretch. This was a world record and Basu getting enlisted his name in the Guinness Book.

During this long period, the CPM turned out to be the most powerful political party in the country, next to the ruling Congress. --- the party did not participate in any coalition government in Delhi then and also subsequently, as per the politburo's decision.. Even in 1996, the offer of prime ministership to Basu was turned down, which, according to Basu, was a historic blunder.

During his life-time, Basu often stressed the necessity of changing the party's ideological and political stands with the changing communist movement in the country and abroad. But the new leadership and young guards did not care to listen to his advice.

Both Basu and Surjeet wanted the party to rectify its traditional rigid stand and instead adopt a realistic Approach as per the situation, but the new leadership did not care to listen to them.

And subsequently, because of several anti- incumbency factors and the party's misdeeds and the comrades’ involvement in corruption, etc, the CPM gradually was becoming unpopular, losing the people's faith and acceptability.

In the seventies onwards, the CPM had been the most powerful and widely accepted political party in the country and its leaders were much closed to the party in power.

Both during the UPA-1 and UPA-2 governments, which were running under the prime ministership of Dr Manmohan Singh, the CPM had been requested with folded hands both by Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi requesting them for participating in the governments, which a section in the CPM also agreed. But the then politburo under Prakash Karat flatly turned down the request. The party's Kerala lobby also supported Karat.

The same Karat and his coterie in the politburo did not allow Basu to accept the offer of prime ministership purely on the ideological ground which Karat exercised by reading out from the party textbook drafted and prepared by himself.

Karat was also an instrument in pulling out their support from the Manmohan Singh government on the Indo-US nuclear deal issue.

Karat's critics alleged he had ruined the party and also ruined himself by doing adventurism while running the party as the politburo master.

As a result, the party, built with the sacrifices of millions of toiling masses and the have-nots and the hardship and dedication of the comrades and other followers, has now turned into a meaningless organisation.

Party insiders say Delhi's A K Gopalan Bhawan has now turned into a gossip club house, where hardly any senior leaders and comrades visit nowadays.

Kolkata's Alimuddin Street party office also bears a deserted look, which is now the visiting place for leaders like Biman Basu (he lives in a commune, adjoining the party office) and party secretary Dr Suryaknto Mishra.

It is good that the party's new politburo chief, Sitaram Yechury, is now making an attempt of uniting the party with its parent unit ---CPI --- which he feels will protect the CPM from its final destruction and ultimate extinction.