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Updated: March 25, 2012 23:29 IST

After 16 years, Bardhan to step down from top CPI post

K. V. Prasad
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A file photo of CPI leader A.B. Bardhan.
The Hindu A file photo of CPI leader A.B. Bardhan.

Sudhakar Reddy to take over as general secretary at party congress this week

A change of guard is on the cards in the CPI as it goes into a party congress this week in Patna, with A.B. Bardhan scheduled to step down as general secretary, a post he held for 16 years. The former MP and deputy general secretary, Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, is slated to take over from the octogenarian leader.

Elevated to the top job after Indrajit Gupta joined the United Front Government in 1996, Mr. Bardhan has steered the party through the times when coalition politics has been the norm at the Centre. He has served four terms in the post, the maximum permissible under the CPI constitution.

At the six-day meeting starting on Tuesday, the CPI is expected to chart a course keeping in view the current political situation and the thrust of its draft resolution that talks of socialism and struggles as the fulcrum of a Left and Democratic alternative.

“The draft political resolution calls for an alternative through programmes and struggles on behalf of the deprived and downtrodden sections, and working for those discriminated against on the basis of caste,” Mr. Reddy told The Hindu.

CPI national secretary and MP D. Raja said there was scope for an alternative Left and Democratic force at a time when the country was passing through a political crisis with both the Congress and the BJP failing.

“The Congress is in office by default just as the BJP is trying to come to power by default and not merit. There is need for a Left and Democratic alternative that can emerge through a policy framework by offering alternative economic, social and political policies.”

As for regional parties, he said there was a tendency among them to swing from the Left to the Right. The larger question was how to keep such parties from moving closer to the right-wing parties.

The Patna congress, coming four years after the session in Hyderabad, will also discuss the reasons behind the party withdrawing support to the United Progressive Alliance Government in 2008 and its debacles in both the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and last year's Assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala.

The congress would deliberate on how to strengthen the party and launch struggles to identify with people on the basis of issues of concern.

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