The CPI(M) central committee’s rejecting a resolution on a political understanding with the Congress ahead of the 2019 general election is possibly not the last word on the subject. The alliance possibilities remain — even if those opposing any truck with the Congress were in a majority and were clearly backers of the former general secretary Prakash Karat. There will be greater clarity on this issue after the CPI(M) holds its party congress in the summer when the opinion base will be far bigger, with about 600 delegates taking a call. General secretary Sitaram Yechury, knowing the fate of the resolution he moved, may have offered to resign. He will now have to mobilise support in favour of what may be a better defined route for Communists to find their place in a coherent national alliance. The Communists are divided on 2019 alliance prospects now only because there are internal divisions. Kerala party members are traditionally opposed to the Congress due to local politics, while the scene may have been different nationally.
Throwing of their weight behind Mr Karat, the sterner ideologue, was no surprise. Mr Yechury, who is seen as more accommodating of other viewpoints, is the national figure in charge of the CPI(M) now, and will have to work towards the larger objective of a 2019 alliance without which the party, in power in Tripura and Kerala, may become nationally insignificant, specially after the definitive loss of West Bengal. Regardless of its ideological stand, the CPI(M) should be part of the national scene to keep its identity relevant. The party’s internal personality clash shouldn’t come in the way.