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Updated: April 10, 2012 01:31 IST

Karat at the helm again

K.V. Prasad
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CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat briefing the press during the 20th Congress of CPI(M) at Kozhikode, Kerala. Phtoto: S. Ramesh Kurup
The Hindu CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat briefing the press during the 20th Congress of CPI(M) at Kozhikode, Kerala. Phtoto: S. Ramesh Kurup

Prakash Karat has been re-elected general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for one more term.

Mr. Karat's re-election on Monday represents continuity in the leadership amid the party's resolve to set a term limit for its office-bearers to reflect change. It came came a day after the 20th party congress amended its constitution to introduce a three-term limit for general secretary and secretaries at all levels.

Mr. Karat, 64, was first elected to the post in the New Delhi congress in April 2005 and re-elected at the Coimbatore congress held three years later. The amendment means this is his last term.

Besides Mr. Karat, the party re-elected 11 members to the Polit Bureau and elected three new members. The new members are A.K. Padmanabhan, president of the Centre for Indian Trade Union; Surya Kant Mishra, Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly; and the former Kerala Minister, M.A. Baby. They fill the vacancies caused by the death of trade union leader M.K. Pandhe; ouster of V.S. Achutanandan; and the exit of Mohammed Amin.

While the former West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, was retained, his Kerala counterpart, V.S. Achutanandan, failed to stage a comeback after he was ousted from the body on June 12, 2009.

The others members re-elected are: S. Ramachandran Pillai, Sitaram Yechury, Biman Bose, Manik Sarkar, Pinarayi Vijayan, K. Vardarajan, B.V. Raghavulu, Brinda Karat, Nirupam Sen and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

In the past few weeks, there was speculation in a section of the media in Kerala on the fate of Mr. Achutanandan, 88, who almost led the party to victory in the Assembly elections last year, defying odds and nullifying the anti-incumbency factor.

However, the central leadership accommodated him in the 87-member Central Committee, highest decision-making body after the Congress, though it sought to establish a practice of not having members aged over 80 in the body.

Prior to the Kozhikode congress, there were suggestions that besides the term limit, the party should bar members of certain age from key posts or committees, but the issue did not come up when the constitutional amendment was discussed and voted on Sunday.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Karat said the deliberations at the congress cast a “major and heavy” responsibility on the leadership to take forward the political, organisational and ideological tasks outlined in the past five days.

The congress would open a new chapter for Communists, the Left movement and a Left and democratic alternative, he said. The discussions showed that the party practised democracy at all levels through the widest debate on issues, he added.

Later, Mr. Karat told The Hindu that the induction of new members in the Polit Bureau was based on an assessment of their contributions, and the cadre of leadership it wanted to build. It was natural that representatives from States where the party was strong stepped in.

As for the term limit, he said no one, right from the general secretary to the secretary of a local committee, could continue in the post if he completed three terms, either in a row or separately. An additional term could be considered only under an extraordinary situation, with the approval of not less than three-fourths of the Central Committee.

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VS sidelining means end of CPM era in kerala like West Bengal.VS is the Founder of CPM.If he is not respected who else. It shows the very poor character of existing leadership.People from all corner of life will protest against the sidelining of such a hugely popular leader like V.S. who always stood with poor, downtrodden and farmers.

from:  Mohan
Posted on: Apr 9, 2012 at 19:21 IST

It appears that the CPI(M) is competing with the Congress in reelecting
known failures. Karat with his one-track mind,arrogance and bad manners
successfully brought the Left from position of influence to irrelevance.
There is no evidence to suggest that he has learnt any lessons or
changed his boorishness. It is a pity that the Left has become another
fiefdom.

from:  Jay Ravi
Posted on: Apr 9, 2012 at 18:53 IST

Com. VS has been unceremoniously dropped for ever. Com.Karat's
confidence of a new chapter being opened after the Party Congress will
prove hollow without VS in the PB.

from:  anish
Posted on: Apr 9, 2012 at 18:34 IST

So sad to hear V S is not in PB. PB may can aviod him..A real communist's life is a fight with out any break...lal salam VS

from:  sujith
Posted on: Apr 9, 2012 at 18:21 IST

It hardly matters whether "A" is in or "B"is out ! The perils of common man will continue...Those who view the world from inside a deep well see only a circle sky above them ! Pity.

from:  Viswanath C
Posted on: Apr 9, 2012 at 17:14 IST

Communists assured they don't need to win Neyyatinkara seat by omitting VS Achuthanandan from polite bureau today. He is the only person in communist party at present who has mass support and the ability to turn mass direction in a by-election. Those who are selected in Polite bureau from Kerala soil are leaders without considerable mass support. VS minus communists are equal to CPI, whatever they claim about their Party set-up.

from:  Kunhalan kutty
Posted on: Apr 9, 2012 at 16:16 IST

By still keeping VS out of the PB, Karat and his coterie has done more harm than good to not only to the communist movement but also for a clean political environment in the country. Karat survives becos of a group which in turn is dependent on him for their survival. The most unfortunate part in any political party today is that the leaders at the helm, including the so called Sonia Gandhi, Karat no except, in these parties lack a mass base and they enjoy power and authority at the cost of the mass leaders like VS. If Karat and his gang think that by keeping VS out of PB, they can silence him, they are mistaken. VS is an honest politican and mass leader who is not scared of these paper tigers and joker leaders and let us look forward to the day when Karat is thrown out of General Secretaryship. R. Balasubramanian, Kolkata

from:  R. Balasubramanian
Posted on: Apr 9, 2012 at 15:37 IST
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