New Delhi, June 8: The CPM central committee today adopted a resolution putting the “primary responsibility” for the party’s Lok Sabha poll debacle on the “politburo and the central leadership” — seen as the closest possible indictment yet of Prakash Karat’s leadership.
Party sources termed the development as a significant one for a communist party that believes in “collective responsibility” and uses the two words to stave off any attack on the central leadership.
The resolution holding the “politburo and the central leadership” primarily responsible was adopted after a three-day meeting of the politburo and the central committee, the two highest bodies. The wording of the full resolution was not made public till late tonight.
The central leadership came under severe criticism at the meeting for its repeated failures. Finally, the resolution had to be adopted after a heated discussion during which the politburo and the central leadership were compelled to take “primary responsibility” for the poll reverses, sources said.
The indictment, however, does not mean that Karat would be ousted as general secretary in the near future. He is due to retire early next year after completion of three terms and he cannot be removed before that.
The larger aim is to try and besiege him so that he cannot foist a person of his choice as the next general secretary at the party congress scheduled early next year.
Karat’s detractors appear to be trying to project him as the general secretary under whose leadership the party plumbed the depths.
In the Karat years — he took over the reins of the party in April 2005 — the CPM has slid from bad to worse on the electoral arena but the general secretary has so far managed to deflect the attack on his leadership.
“In recent history, the politburo and the central leadership have never taken responsibility for electoral losses. Collective responsibility is cited and that effectively means no one takes responsibility,” said a central committee member.
After the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, in which the CPM’s tally plunged to 16 MPs from 44 in 2004, Karat had managed to hold fort, barring mild criticism of his ambitious projections on a third front.
“The call for an alternative secular government comprising non-Congress, non-BJP parties was a slogan which could not be believed by the people. It would have been more appropriate to call for an alternative by strengthening the Left and the non-Congress-non-BJP combination that we had forged,” the resolution adopted after the 2009 elections said.
Many in the party believed that the decision to withdraw support to the Congress over the Indo-US nuclear deal was a mistake but Karat swung the party in his favour.
When the CPM lost power in Bengal after over three decades, Karat got the party to swiftly blame the state government. The review report after the Bengal elections in 2011 was an indictment of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government.
“The administrative and political mistakes in this regard (Nandigram and Singur) proved costly,” the review had said, referring to the Bhattacharjee government. The review also indicted the state party.
“The image of the party amongst the people had been dented by manifestations of high-handedness, bureaucratism and refusal to hear the views of the people,” it said.
The central committee resolution today is now seen as the revenge of the Bengal lobby in the party. Party insiders said the ground against Karat was prepared by the resignation offers made by several leaders from Bengal and Kerala and Sitaram Yechury, owning responsibility for the poll defeat. This compelled the Karat lobby in the party to own up responsibility, the sources said.