The Communist Party of India (CPI) will formulate alternative economic programmes for every sector at its 24th Party Congress to be held from October 14 in Vijayawada, as part of the efforts to counter the neo-liberal onslaught of the BJP-led Union government, CPI general secretary D. Raja has said.
In an interview to The Hindu on the sidelines of the party's State Conference in Kerala, he called on the Congress party to accept the new situation and be accommodative to other parties.
“The regional parties, including the former allies of the BJP, have all learned the lessons and are doing serious introspection. Through their own experience, they understand that the BJP spells disaster. The Congress should not think that everything is as it is in the past. They should revise their strategies and economic policies. They cannot say that they are not opposed to privatisation, but only to the way it is done. They should at least revert to Nehruvian economics. The BJP cannot be fought in its own track, by claiming that you are a better Hindu,” said Mr. Raja.
Cong. leadership battle
On the ongoing leadership battle in the Congress, he feels that Mallikarjun Kharge has an advantage over Shashi Tharoor due to his experience.
"Mr. Kharge has the advantage of being one of the senior-most politicians in the country who knows how to reach out to other parties. Even some of the G-23 leaders seem to be backing him. Dr. Tharoor is relatively young and new, but India is a country with a considerable population of young people with aspirations. How these factors will work out, we will have to wait and see," he said.
Mr. Raja expounded on the idea of Left unity, which is being raised with renewed vigour in a changed political context. "We have been speaking for some time, but it takes time. For Left parties to come together, there must be mutual trust and accommodation. That is what we are trying. When Comrade Surjeet [Singh] was the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and Comrade Indrajeet [Gupta] was heading the CPI, we sent out a joint circular to establish State-level coordination committees between the CPI(M) and the CPI. That process could not be continued. But, now there is realisation that the communist movement must come together on a principle basis," he said.
Age limit issues
Mr. Raja said that all issues related to age limit in the top decision-making bodies of the CPI would be settled. "Age limit is a general guideline. Our target must be to follow it. But, there can be exceptional cases, on the basis of their contribution and capacity. It is for the State unit to make the assessment. The party has recognised that there is a generation gap and a gender gap. These guidelines have been formulated with an aim to overcome these problems," he said.
An alternative path
He said that the CPI would continue to raise its opposition to the way the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as well as the sedition law were being used. The Vijayawada Congress would discuss it further.
"The main thrust of the Vijayawada Party Congress will be the formulation of an alternative path for all the parties to come together and to mobilise people. To mobilise, we should identify and take up fundamental issues of livelihood. While opposing the Modi government's policies, we should also project an alternative economic and political programme, which would include protection of public sector, revival of planning commission, reservation in private sector and steps to protect federalism and defend the Constitution,” he said.