'All-India alliances are not the priority today.'
'Therefore, the CPI-M's political line dovetails with the emergent political reality in the country,' says M K Bhadrakumar.
IMAGE: Communist Party of India General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri, second from left, before the CPI-M's 22nd party congress begins at the RTC Kalyana Mandapam in Hyderabad. April 18, 2018. Photograph: Snaps India
The political resolution at the Communist Party of India-Marxist party congress in Hyderabad marks the culmination of what has turned out to be a riveting display of the Marxist-Leninist principle of democratic centralism in real time.
Democratic centralism involves a method of leadership in which political decisions taken by a Communist party are meticulously reached through discussions and debates within its democratically elected bodies.
The principle of democratic centralism was enunciated by Vladimir Lenin in his classic pamphlet What is to be done? Burning Questions of Our Movement, written in 1901. The CPI-M has scrupulously adhered to the principle.
Inevitably, the intense debates and plurality of opinions articulated within the various elected bodies of the CPI-M gave rise to wild speculation among outsiders who misread them as personality clashes.
The heart of the matter is that the present moment is a historic juncture as the countdown to the 2019 general election in India has all but begun and the country's future hangs in the balance.
India today, after nearly four years of BJP rule, is a badly polarised country.
A segment of opinion, which is less than one-third of the electorate, is imposing itself on the body-polity as the majority opinion, thanks to overt and covert State patronage.
Not a single State institution has been spared in this vandalism.
Never before in independent India's history has the country faced such threats undermining its secular foundations.
Never before has an incumbent government systematically and brazenly infiltrated its cadres into the body polity.
Never before has such a concerted attempt been made to stifle dissent and free opinion.
Never before has a ruling party taken as its principal mission the elimination of the main Opposition party from the country's electoral map, overlooking that political pluralism is the life blood of democracy.
Never before have the minority communities been bludgeoned and humiliated through seen an unseen ways into submission as second class citizens.
The idea of India as we have known for over six decades will not survive another five years under the yoke of Hindutva ideology.
Therefore, as progressive forces, it is incumbent on the Left to be in the vanguard of resistance.
The CPI-M has a key role to play here insofar as it is by far the flag carrier of the Communist movement in India and constitutes the vanguard of the struggle against the BJP and the RSS.
According to media reports, the CPI-M party congress at Hyderabad is debating the party line on how best to fight the BJP and the RSS and to ensure their defeat.
The consensus opinion seems to be coalescing around the imperative need for the CPI-M having an understanding with all secular Opposition parties, including the Congress party, in Parliament on agreed issues and to co-operate with them outside Parliament as well in the struggle against communalism.
Even joint actions involving class and mass organisations are envisaged. However, such understanding precludes any political alliance as such with the Congress, given the profound ideological and political differences.
To my mind, this is the only correct line possible under the circumstances, taking into account the tactical necessity to avoid any split in non-BJP votes while at the same time also keeping in view the CPI-M's political agenda and long-term strategy.
Given the relative spread of the CPI-M and Congress in various states on the electoral map, there is no contradiction either.
At any rate, the 2019 poll will be fought on the basis of state-wise understanding among secular parties that aims to consolidate anti-BJP votes.
All-India alliances or electoral fronts are not the priority today. Therefore, the CPI-M's political line dovetails with the emergent political reality in the country.
It is realistic and pragmatic and at the same time, a principled line. The CPI-M is prioritising the consolidation of anti-BJP votes in the country.
Democratic centralism implies that the political resolution adopted at the party congress will be binding upon all members of the party.
For the anti-Communist lobby, this may come as a disappointment. Its apocalyptic predictions turned out to be wishful thinking.