Kolkata: For the second time in six months, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury failed to convince the party's most powerful decision-making body, the Central Committee (CC), that it was imperative to forge an understanding with the Congress to oust the BJP from power at the centre.
The outcome: Mr Yechury's draft political resolution was defeated and Prakash Karat's version that rejects any association with the Congress, won the day.
Mr Karat's version of the draft political resolution will now be put into the public domain. You can suggest changes and so will thousands of card-holding CPM members.
In March, all the suggested amendments will be studied, the unanimously accepted ones will be incorporated and the final draft will be presented at the party Congress in April.
Even there, more amendments may come up.
All this may sound like intra-party pedantry but the debate has impacted the CPM many times in the last few decades - Jyoti Basu and the historic blunder, withdrawal of support to UPA II over a nuclear deal that no one remembers today - a move than many say cost the CPM the state of West Bengal.
The fact that the Central Committee was confronted with two rival draft political resolutions and the fact that they had to vote on the issue does signal bitter divides within the party, something that is not going to help the party on the run-up to general elections in 2019.
Many Central Committee members publicly said the debate and the vote were an example of the CPM's inner party democratic centralism, which allows the party to debate and resolve differences to adopt as scientific way forward.