New Delhi: Amidst reports of some top leaders like Sitaram Yechury renewing their offer to quit, an acrimonious debate took place on Saturday among CPI(M) leaders on the party`s poll debacle and the political and electoral line at its Central Committee meeting here.
Reports saying that Yechury and senior leaders from West Bengal had offered to resign from the Politburo could not be confirmed immediately, but heated debate on the political line based on a `non-Congress, anti-BJP` campaign is understood to have taken place at the two-day meeting of the 89-member Central Committee which began today.
CPI(M)`s strength has fallen sharply to nine members in the Lok Sabha including only two from its bastion in West Bengal, from a total of 16 in the 15th Lok Sabha and 44 in the previous one.
Party leaders from various states held in-depth discussion on the problems and weaknesses facing party`s grass-root organisation, especially in West Bengal where CPI(M) and other parties faced "unprecedented violence" and "large-scale rigging" of the polls allegedly by the Trinamool Congress, party sources said.
With the prime focus of discussion being West Bengal, the leaders debated the future course of action on how to cope with the challenges and galvanise the party and the Left organisation which have been under tremendous stress due to the continued attacks and violence against them, they said.
Questions relating to the party`s `political and tactical line` are likely to be taken up at the highest decision-making body of CPI(M), the Party Congress, slated in March-April next year. On the political line, Left leaders, including those from
CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc, have pointed out that BJP had taken full advantage of the people`s anger against Congress and its policies on one hand, and the complete absence of a non- Congress, non-BJP alternative in these elections on the other.
They have also called for serious introspection within their own parties as well as within the Left on the role they would play in the coming days.
The reports from CPI(M) state units, including West Bengal and Kerala, were placed yesterday before the Politburo and before the Central Committee which triggered the debate.
Speculations about top leaders offering to quit the Politburo came weeks after former CPI(M) stalwart Somnath Chatterjee pitched for an immediate change in the party`s leadership, accusing it of losing contact with the masses. The former Lok Sabha Speaker was expelled from CPI(M) in 2008.
The reports had said Yechury`s offer to quit was earlier rejected by party leaders, including General Secretary Prakash Karat who has been speaking of "collective responsibility", while Yechury himself had said "all that is nonsense. I never discuss inner-party issues outside."
Yechury, a Rajya Sabha member, is the leader of CPI(M)`s parliamentary group. He is also a long-time Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.