The issue had so divided the CPM that its most powerful decision-making body, the central committee, had been forced to go for 'division' of vote in Kolkata last month. The pro-Yechuri pro-Congress group -- loosely called the Bengal lobby -- had lost to the anti-Congress group reportedly loyal to former general secretary Prakash Karat. That group is loosely labelled the Kerala lobby.
The draft political resolution (DPR) of the party is now open for suggested amendments and will be finalised at the CPM's 22nd party congress beginning April 18 in Hyderabad.
The DPR that was released at 5 pm today and will remain open till March 20 for suggested amendments, not just by party members but anyone else who wants to. A format for that is given at the bottom of the 53-page document.
There is no room for doubt in the DPR about the CPM's biggest political enemy, no question of equidistance from its main political rivals, as had been espoused in the past. The 'Political Line' in the document says that "the main task is to defeat the BJP and its allies by rallying all secular and democratic forces".
But on how to do so, the DPR is equally categorical. Defeating the BJP has "to be done without having an understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress party".
In case the message was not clear enough, the DPR talks of joint platforms and building secular, democratic movements. But "the emphasis should be on building unity of people to fight the communal forces at the grassroots. These are not to be seen as political or electoral alliances".
The signal to regional parties is not positive either. The party will fight neo-liberal policies not just of the BJP at the centre but also of "the various state governments, including those run by regional parties". In West Bengal, that can only mean the Trinamool. But even other regional parties will be treated on merit and not only by the sole criteria of their anti-BJP stand.
Clearly, the field for alliances for the CPM is becoming narrower than ever before. Early reactions to the DPR from political analysts are that it is "isolationist". Others feel it is 'purist'.
But there is a call for Left forces to come together and electoral aspirations have not been entirely abandoned. "Appropriate electoral tactics to maximize the pooling of the anti-BJP votes should be adopted based on the above political line of the party."
After March 20 when all suggested amendments come in, they will be examined by the politburo, listed and placed at the party congress that will decide what suggestions to adopt or not.