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Bengal CPI(M) plenum this week: party to discuss revival strategy, rise of RSS

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:47 IST

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Bengal unit plenum is set to begin on 30 September. And ahead of the plenum, the Central Committee of the party has instructed the state unit to focus on strengthening it, in the wake of the increasing in RSS shakhas (units) in the state, as well as the perceived weakening of the party in the wake of the Trinamool Congress's second successive Assembly elections victory.

At the same time as the rise of the RSS in the state, another worry for the CPI(M) is Chief Minister's Mamata Banerjee's policy towards Muslims, which has often been branded as 'appeasement'.

The Central Committee issued a statement a few days ago, noting the increased attempts at communal polarisation and the pursuit of a Hindutva agenda by the RSS and the BJP. It urged all democratic forces to rally together.

The agenda

The two-day plenum, which will be held on 30 September and 1 October, will lay emphasis on the inherent weaknesses that have cost the party its foothold in Bengal, as well as the fast-dwindling membership in the wake of the massive exodus from the party. It will also look to chalk out how the CPI(M) will re-acquire the confidence of the masses, in the wake of Trinamool's gain after the Singur verdict in the Supreme Court.

However the Central Committee has already informed the Bengal CPI(M) unit that there is an 'under-the-table understanding' between the Trinamool and the BJP, and a dire need for people to 'unite against the atrocities' of the ruling party.

Sources within the West Bengal CPI(M) said that growing poaching by Trinamool Congress workers has left the party red-faced, and the plenum will focus on how to revive their strength in panchayats and municipalities ahead of the 2017 municipal elections.

A senior CPI(M) leader said: "One of the major concerns is the mass exodus of CPI(M) members, as the TMC has mastered the art of mass defections from Opposition parties with enticement or coercion. This will be discussed in the plenum."

The suggestions of the party's Politburo will be taken into consideration while chalking out how to revive the party in Bengal.

The Central Committee is also perturbed with Chief Minister Banerjee's statement, asking for an Opposition-free Bengal. The party is expected to lay emphasis on the steps that need to be taken to counter the ruling government.

Yechury and Karat to attend

The party's incumbent general secretary, Sitaram Yechury, as well as his predecessor, Prakash Karat, will be present at the Bengal plenum, which is to be held at the Promod Dasgupta Bhavan.

Political experts are of the opinion that the statement issued by the Central Committee on the increased attempts at communal polarisation reflects the views of Yechury, who always pushes for joint rallies with all secular forces, including the Congress. This has often gone against Karat's views, which involve maintaining a a distance from both the BJP and the Congress.

First published: 24 September 2016, 11:39 IST