Party of India, not Kerala: Yechury


New Delhi: CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury has signalled to the Kerala unit that it cannot dictate to the central leadership how the party should fight the Sangh-BJP nationally.

A speech that Yechury delivered at the CPM's state conference in Thrissur on Saturday is being seen as an open challenge to his intra-party opponents and a pointer that a contest is inevitable at the Hyderabad party congress in April.

This will gladden some of the comrades in Bengal who support Yechury's line of an electoral understanding with the Congress to try and defeat the BJP - a tactic rejected unanimously by the Kerala unit.

"(The name) 'CPM' stands not for 'Communist Party of Kerala (Marxist)' but for 'Communist Party of India (Marxist)'," Yechury told the Thrissur conference.

Learn to look beyond Kerala, he chided the gathering, which included two of his staunchest opponents: former general secretary Prakash Karat and politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai.

"I didn't say that we must have a tie-up with the Congress but (that we) need to adopt a political strategy to remove the BJP-RSS forces," Yechury said. "The party cannot take a stand going by the political compulsions of a state (unit). I'm not the secretary of a particular state unit. We have to look at the larger picture."

Yechury said he was not speaking on the basis of information gathered from Google, apparently targeting two young leaders fielded to counter him: Muhammad Riaz and A.N. Shamsher, national and state president of party youth wing DYFI.

He said that instead of comparing his opening remarks at the conference with those by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan,# the two should have tried to understand and analyse the points he had raised.

"In Kerala, the Congress may be the main enemy but that is not the situation in the rest of the country," Yechury said. "The RSS and the BJP are trying to establish a Hindu rashtra. The nation cannot go forward without defeating them. Either they win or we win. This is not something Yechury says; this has been there in party documents for years."

Yechury added that he had expected a better understanding of the party's ideas on the part of the younger comrades.

The state leadership appeared unprepared for Yechury's onslaught. The Kerala CPM is under pressure over the recent murder of a Youth Congress leader, which has led to the arrest of a couple of CPM workers, and the lynching of a tribal youth over allegations of theft. The two incidents have dampened the spirit of the conference.

The state leadership, which had backed Karat in shooting down Yechury's line in Calcutta last month, has not officially reacted to the general secretary's latest comments. Most of the Kerala comrades have been avoiding the media.

In his address, state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan spoke only about the need to expand the base of the ruling Left Democratic Front in the state. Sunday's edition of the party's Malayalam mouthpiece, Deshabhimani, ignored Yechury's address altogether.


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