In a first, delegate seeks secret voting on tactical line.
Hyderabad: The difference of opinion on the political-tactical line in the CPI(M) reached such a level on Thursday that an unprecedented demand for voting through secret ballot on it was raised by a delegate at the party’s ongoing congress here.
The demand, that has never been seen earlier at a CPI(M) congress, was raised by a delegate from Maharashtra, who referred to the recent massive farmers’ agitation in the state in his speech on the first day of debate on the draft political resolution.
The delegate is understood to have said that the CPI(M) peasants’ wing, All India Kisan Sabha, was able to unite the farmers, cutting across political lines. If the party differentiated between secular parties, the BJP would take the opportunity away, he is learnt to have said.
“He pressed for a secret ballot while putting across the farmers’ issue toeing (general secretary) Sitaram Yechury’s line”, said a party insider, seeking anonymity.
The CPI(M) constitution is not categorical on the provision for a secret ballot to incorporate amendments to the document. The draft resolution, once adopted by this mega-conference being attended by around 1,000 delegates and invitees, would finalise the political line of the CPI(M) for the next three years.
The critical issue in it centres around whether the party should join hands with “all secular, democratic forces”, including the Congress, to take on the BJP.
While the Prakash Karat faction has been against any understanding with the Congress, the Yechury faction has favoured joining hands with all secular parties to fight the BJP in the changed scenario, specially after the recent ouster of the CPI(M)-led Left Front from Tripura as well as the victory of the united Opposition in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in the recent Lok Sabha byelections.
Asked about the demand for voting through secret ballot, Mr Yechury said the decision to consider such a demand lay with the steering committee, which is elected by the congress. “The normal practice in our congress is that if anybody presses an amendment, then there is voting. Otherwise, the steering committee that is elected by the congress considers all amendments and makes a proposal to the party congress.
“If somebody presses for secret voting, then the steering committee takes it up. There is no laid-out procedure. But the normal practice is done through a show of hands,” Mr Yechury said.
According to some delegates, the supporters of the Yechury line feel that the doors for an understanding with the Congr-ess, without any electoral alliance, should be kept open. This line is understood to be getting majority support from the party units of West Bengal, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. Those opposing this line, led by former general secreatary Prakash Karat, are said to be getting support from some delegates from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.
Witnessing the mood in the party over the political line, the central committee seems to be considering options to avoid voting, which breaks all traditions.