- The two sides brought different drafts for the political resolution
- Sitaram Yechury favoured ties with "secular Left and democratic forces"
- Prakash Karat proposed no truck, "direct or indirect" with Congress
Mr Yechury offered to resign on Saturday last, anticipating a defeat in Sunday's vote. But the CPM's highest body, the politburo, said he cannot quit.
The vote on Sunday at a meeting of the central committee or CC marked a flashpoint in the tussle between factions led by Mr Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat. The two sides brought to the table different drafts for the political resolution, a crucial document that decides the party's way forward for the next three years.
Mr Yechury's draft favoured a political understanding with "all secular Left and democratic forces" including the Congress.
Mr Karat's resolution proposed no truck, "direct or indirect" with the Congress and, backed by the powerful Kerala unit of the party, won 55 to 31. Even Tripura, where the Left is in power and the Congress a political rival, backed Mr Karat's draft.
Both drafts identified the BJP and its ideological mentor RSS as "the biggest threat the country is facing at present" and need to be defeated.
"The draft political resolution adopted after incorporating some amendments, states that there is no electoral alliance or understanding with the Congress," Mr Yechury said after the meeting.
CPM sources said Sitaram Yechury, sensing his draft could be defeated, had expressed his desire to quit from his post the night before the vote, stating it would be difficult for him to continue if his political line was rejected. He also tried hard to avoid a vote, sources said. An urgent politburo meeting was convened to take a call on that, but it failed to resolve the matter.
Bengal's CPM leaders are concerned about the impact of this development on state politics. It is having a tough time tackling the BJP as it makes an aggressive pitch to stake claim as the state's main opposition party.
The CPM, which ruled Bengal for three decades, lost in 2011 to Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress. In 2016, violating the party line, the CPM fought the assembly elections in partnership with the Congress, but failed to stop Ms Banerjee, who was re-elected with a bigger mandate.
Critics in the CPM have blamed the tie-up with the Congress, its chief rival in Bengal for years and in Kerala even now, for the party's decline.
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