Sunday, Nov 27, 2022
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Communist Parties In India: No 'Family Business' Please, We Are All Comrades!

Despite leading organisations for over two decades, leaders of Communist parties develop no right over the party. In fact, even general secretaries have been restrained, demoted and expelled.

Disciplined: Supporters marching to a CPI(M) mass meeting in Kolkata in 2021
Disciplined: Supporters marching to a CPI(M) mass meeting in Kolkata in 2021 Photo: Getty Images

In December 1998, when the CPI (ML-Liberation)  general secretary Vinod Mishra died of cardiac arrest at the age of 51 after leading the party since 1975, the organisation still had one of its founder-leaders, Swadesh Bhattacharya alias Raghu, in its top leadership, the Politburo. But the party’s highest decision-­making body, the central committee—of which the Politburo is a part—chose an ene­r­getic and erudite 38-year-old Politburo member, Dip­ankar Bhattacharya, to succeed Mishra.

Bhattacharya was not related to Mishra in any way, except for being close comrades. He had made his way to the party’s top leadership by his early 30s, thanks to his organisational skills, and has been leading the party since then. When the time comes for a successor, it can safely be said that no one related to Bhatta­cha­rya will have any chance. The central committee will choose from among its members, likely a member of the Politburo.

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