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CPM to seek expert advice for facelift

Prakash Karat

New Delhi, June 9: CPM general secretary Prakash Karat today said the party would hire experts to study the impact of liberalisation on society to enable it to re-invent itself.

The Lok Sabha poll drubbing, for which the politburo and central leadership have taken primary responsibility, appears to have hammered home a few tough truths.

“The party has decided to initiate studies to understand the impact of liberalisation and neo-liberalism on the society and the resultant change. It would help us formulate correct slogans and raise issues which will meet the expectations of the people and also help us adopt a more correct tactical line in the future,” Karat said at the end of the three-day politburo and central committee meeting.

The CPM central leadership came under severe attack at the meeting for the party’s unceasing downslide.

“The politburo and the central leadership took primary responsibility for the failure to expand the independent strength and the decline in the mass base of the party, which was reflected in the election results,” Karat said, announcing the review report adopted by the central committee.

So severe was the indictment that the party has decided to go in for a total overhaul. “The central committee decided to review the political line and the organisational functioning in order to take corrective measures,” Karat said.

It remains to be seen how credible the exercise will be as the party has decided to hire Marxist experts, not professionals, for the review. However, the Marxist experts will not be party members.

“The experts would be independent ones. They would be Marxists but not party members,” Karat said.

Asked if Marxist experts would not stick to the old line on the anti-people impact of liberalisation, Karat said: “We need Marxist experts as they would understand our approach better.”

He said party leaders too would be in the review committees but “independent experts” would do the primary work. The report would be ready by September-October when the CPM starts preparations for the party congress next April at which the overhaul roadmap would be finalised.

Asked if wasn’t too late for such a study after 22 years of liberalisation, Karat said: “We have been discussing it for the last 5 years… but we have not been updated.”

Similar studies have been done earlier too — one to refresh the party ideology and another after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Party leaders said the changes would be significant this time. “Just wait and see. Party leaders have realised that if we don’t change, we will perish,” a central committee member said.

Karat denied reports of leaders offering to resign. “In our party, people don’t resign on the basis of election results. What we have to take responsibility for is the failure to expand the mass base of the party. On that account, we have failed and we will take corrective steps.”