Resignation: Karat says no offer, Yechury counters I did

The tussle in the CPI(M) top leadership after a contentious voting in Central Committee over political line aggravated on Tuesday with senior leader Prakash Karat saying General Secretary Sitaram Yechury did not offer to resign, only to be contradicted by the latter.

Yechury’s remarks came after Polit Bureau (PB) member Karat, also a former General Secretary, told a web portal that there was no offer of resignation from the General Secretary in the Central Committee (CC) after the rejection of his line on party’s relationship with Congress in the fight against BJP.

“I had offered to resign both in the Polit Bureau and Central Committee. Both the CC and PB unanimously said such a move will send a wrong signal that the party will be seen as divided on the eve of Party congress and Tripura elections. I abided by the decision,” Yechury told DH.

While emphasising that the party runs under collective leadership, Karat replied to a question whether Yechury offered to resign, “no, he did not offer to resign.” When asked whether the defeat of Yechury line in a voting undermine his position, Karat said, “We don’t look at that way. In our party, General Secertary is not the supreme leader. We have a collective way of functioning…”

However, Yechury said in a press conference in Kolkata on Sunday, “I am here because the PB and CC asked him to continue as General Secretary.

The usually media-shy Karat contradicting Yechury and the latter’s response within hours are seen as an intensification of the tussle with the Kerala unit-dominated Karat faction and supporters of Yechury.

Sources said the Karat faction-dominated PB followed by the CC rejected Yechury’s propositions like sending both the drafts — of Karat and Yechury — to the Party Congress.

Yechury told both the PB and CC during the three-day Central Committee meeting in Kolkata that if his contentions are binned, then it would be “untenable” for him to continue as General Secretary. However, sensing trouble, Karat faction then argued against it as it would send out a signal of division in the party.

Sources said the divide in the party is “much more vertical” compared to the previous instances when General Secretaries P Sundarayya and Harkishen Singh Surjeet were on the side of minorities.

Sundarayya was against joining hands with Jan Sangh during Emergency while Surjeet had argued for allowing Jyoti Basu becoming Prime Minister in the United Front government.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Jan 24, 2018)

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