New Delhi: Prakash Karat was on Thursday re-elected General Secretary of the CPI-M by the 19th party congress in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Karat, who initiated the ultimate Left dream of a Third Front, is looking forward for a viable third alternative denoting it as the need of the hour.
Veteran leaders Jyoti Basu and Harkishan Singh Surjeet have been relieved from the party's Politburo - something that the duo have been demanding for some time. However, Jyoti Basu will be a special invitee to the Politburo.
Both Basu and Surjeet have been members of the Politburo for 44 years since 1964, when the CPI-M was formed after the split in the Communist Party of India.
The party's 19th congress wraps up on Thursday after a public rally there.
“A viable third alternative is the need of the hour, but it can’t just be an electoral rag tag coalition,” Karat said.
So, the third alternative will have to bide its time. In the meanwhile, the saffron surge in recent Assembly elections has got the red camp worried.
“We will do everything to prevent opportunists line up around the communal BJP,” Karat said.
So if it means supporting a Congress government in future, it is willing to do so. After all the party's own assessment is that they have successfully leveraged the strength of their 60 MPs.
Meanwhile, Jyoti Basu's exit could affect the CPM's policy towards the Congress. It was Basu and Surjeet who cajoled the party away from its policy against the Congress and BJP.
Earlier, on the eve of the party congress, the former West Bengal Chief Minister had written to CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat, requesting that he be allowed to relinquish his membership of the two policy making bodies.
R Umanath is also not there in the newly constituted Politburo. He will continue to be a member of the Central Committee, the highest decision making body of the party.
Besides Karat, the party Congress retained Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, his West Bengal and Tripura counterparts Buddadeb Bhattacharjee and Manik Sarkar, Sitaram Yechury, CITU President M K Pandhe, Pinarayi Vijayan, S Ramachanran Pillai and Biman Bose in the Politburo.
Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, CITU General Secretary Mohd Amin and Bengal minister Nirupam Sen are the new entrants in the 15-member Politburo elected by the party Congress on its last day.
(With agency inputs)