CPM agonises on ally & age
• Reduction in average age of state committee members by 3 years
• Declaration of the BJP and Trinamul as common enemies
• Decision on pre-poll truck with Congress kept pending for a month
After around 36 hours of discussions over four days, involving 76 speakers - out of 504 delegates - the CPM state conference ended on Thursday with the above takeaways amid questions on whether any concrete synthesis emerged from the thesis and the anti-thesis of the communists.
"We will not hold Trinamul's hands to take on the BJP across the country, nor will we go with the BJP to fight Trinamul in Bengal. Both are our enemies," said CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra after the conference.
On the key question of a pre-poll truck with the Congress, Mishra said it would be decided in party congress in April. "Most discussions were held around this topic... Some spoke in favour of the Congress, some contested it," said a CPM insider.
But in the past four days of the conference, signals from some prominent leaders made it apparent that the party remained a divided house.
On Wednesday, Salim spoke about the need to have a united fight against the BJP, a line CPM secretary Sitaram Yechury has been pushing for months. But within hours, party's former general secretary Prakash Karat spoke about the need for a wider platform and movement on the streets to take on the BJP.
"These send confusing signals to comrades and that's the reason why we are in such a mess... We cannot take decisions and procrastinate," said a CPM source.
The only concrete take away was a reduction in the average age of party leaders, which has been talking about the need for young faces for years.
"The average age at last state conference in 2015 was 60.5 years and it has been reduced by at least three years this time," said Mishra.
This feat was achieved because some veteran leaders like Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Madan Ghosh, Nirupam Sen, Asim Dasgupta and Shyamal Chakraborty were dropped.
But keeping with the tradition that communists don't retire, eight of the 20 dropped were kept as special invitees, including former chief minister Bhattacharjee.
However, politburo member and Left Front chairman Biman Bose was the only exception to the rule (not exceeding the 75 years mark) of a state committee member and Mishra referred to him as "younger than the youngest among the delegates".