The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is headed for a showdown between party chief Sitaram Yechury and the faction that former party chief Prakash Karat leads. The flashpoint is likely to be reached in the coming months when the party central committee sits to discuss its draft political resolution for the next Party Congress in Hyderabad from April 18 to 22. Karat, including several of the party's Kerala unit leaders, have argued in the Politburo that the CPI (M) should fight against the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and its policies, but not have any leaning towards the Congress or other Opposition parties. The previous Party Congress in 2015 had adopted this 'political tactical line'. This line had meant the Central Committee voting against a third Rajya Sabha term for Yechury, with the support of the Congress, and criticising the electoral understanding with the Congress in the 2016 West Bengal assembly polls. The current 'political tactical line' also lead to the party not attending the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad's 'BJP hatao, desh bachao' (banish BJP, save the country) public rally in Patna on August 27. Yechury attending dissident Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav-led campaign to 'save the composite culture' has also been criticised within the party. Yechury, however, has attended the meetings in Delhi on August 17 and in Indore at the end of the last month.
He is likely to attend the next meeting scheduled in Jaipur on September 14.The CPI (M) leadership has come under criticism from other opposition parties, with Prasad conveying to the party leadership that it was abdicating its "historical responsibility to fight communal forces" by not uniting with other opposition parties. The Congress leadership has also expressed its unhappiness at the CPI (M) staying away from efforts at Opposition unity. But, Yechury has indicated that he would strive to get the party to amend its line at the next Party Congress. "The concrete conditions have changed since 2015 and we will meet in 2018 again... the basic essential element of Marxism is concrete analysis of concrete conditions. The conditions have changed, so our analysis and alignment accordingly will change," Yechury said after a meeting of the party Politburo here. The Party Congress, its 22nd, is the CPI(M)'s highest decision making forum. Yechury, and several other leaders from rest of the country, are likely to point to recent events as evidence that the party needed to change its 'political tactical line' to fight unitedly with others the "growing danger of fascistic forces". As evidence of concrete conditions having changed since 2015, these leaders would point at the murder of journalists like Gauri Lankesh and the likely efforts by Sangh Parivar outfits to whip up communal frenzy if the Supreme Court starts daily hearings on the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute. Sources pointed out that the CPI (M) had fought against the Indira Gandhi government's Emergency of 1975 to 77, along with the socialists and Jana Sangh.