ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Refusing to Learn

It is hard to escape the questions arising from the Communist Party of ­India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] politburo’s decision to support Pranab Mukherjee for the President of India. The arguments proffered remain unconvincing. The party has tried to avoid the question about what has prompted it to go against its own political resolution adopted three months ago in the party congress in Kozhikode, which pledges to keep an equal distance from the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, and to continuously fight their neo-liberal economic agenda. If 16 summers back comrade Jyoti Basu could be spared disciplinary action by the party for making an open statement terming the party’s decision not to allow him to be the prime minister as a “historic blunder”, then why has there been a different treatment for the young Prasenjit Bose for tendering his resignation from the party membership through an open letter. Rather than ­answering his charges the CPI(M) has summarily expelled those who have raised questions.

It is anybody’s guess what went on in the politburo meeting, which seems to have led to a sharp division. Eight members supported Mukherjee’s candidature and seven members opposed it. Probably, the members from Bengal, who have usually been advocating a line cut off from the economic and political concerns of the rest of India, held sway and once again forced the party to support the candidature of a person, who has led the economic agenda of the present government as its finance minister, and against which the CPI(M) has declared a virtual war. The decision may have widened the rift between the Trinamool and Congress, but as subsequent events show, it hardly takes time for such elements to change their ­position. With Mamata Banerjee’s last-minute decision to support Pranab Mukherjee, what happens to this elaborate justification of the CPI(M)’s political stand?

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