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Basu, Surjeet not in CPM politburo; Karat re-elected Gen Secy
Krishnakumar P in Coimbatore | April 03, 2008 14:31 IST
Prakash Karat was on Thursday re-elected as general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist by the 19th party Congress, which also reconstituted the politburo, replacing veteran leaders Jyoti Basu and Harkishen Singh Surjeet.
Charting its course for the next three years, the CPI-M said the struggle against neo-liberal economic policies, fighting the communal forces and ensuring that India does not become a junior ally to the United States were its prime tasks.
"The party Congress affirmed that out struggle against neo-liberal economic policies will be carried forward with renewed vigour. We have also seen how the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been attacking our party offices and killing our cadre and members because we are the most consistent opponents of communalism," Karat..
"The people of India will not allow the efforts of the ruling class - whoever comes to power in New Delhi - to make India a junior ally of the Unites States," he added.
Karat also said the party will look to form a third alternative to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.
"Till the time we can form a Left and democratic alternative, we will look to form a third alternative that can offer a distinct platform different from the two existing fronts," he said.
Veterans Jyoti Basu and Harkishen Singh Surjeet, who had earlier requested the party to relieve them of their positions in the politburo due to their old age, are absent from the reconstituted politburo.
Basu will be a special invitee to the politburo, while ailing Surjeet, a former general secretary, will be a special invitee to the Central Committee. Both Basu and Surjeet have been members of the Politburo for 44 years since 1964, when the CPI-M was formed after the split in the Communist Party of India.
R Umanath is also not included in the newly-constituted politburo. He will continue to be a member of the Central Committee, the highest decision making body of the party.
Earlier, the party elected three new faces to its 15-member politburo - West Bengal Minister for Industry Nirupam Sen, Bengal trade union leader Mohammed Amin and Kerala Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
The re-constituted CPI-M politburo comprises Prakash Karat, V S Achutananthan, S Ramachandran Pillai, Sitaram Yechury, M K Pandhe, Biman Basu, Manik Sarkar, Pinarayi Vijayan, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, K Varadharajan, Ragavelu, Brinda Karat, Mohammed Amin, Nirupam Sen, and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
Additional reportage: PTI