The Communist Party of India (Marxist), aka CPM, has always been at the forefront to pay lip service to the Dalits and women leaders, projecting itself as emancipators of those sections. However, unlike other ‘bourgeoisie’ political parties, CPM has never admitted a Dalit leader to its apex decision-making body, the politburo. For a party that fervently champions the cause of women and marginalised, the CPM has been facing severe criticism for maintaining its Brahminic and patriarchic attitude since its inception.
In a recent interview with a Malayalam daily, while answering the questions which have been haunting his party for several decades, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury has put the blame on the ‘Hindu social order’ for its failure in admitting Dalits to the politburo. The CPM general secretary revealed that the party could not appoint a Dalit member to its top office due to ‘historical reasons’.
“CPM has no Dalit members in its politburo due to historical reasons which should have been sorted out long ago. It is not an issue of CPM alone. Our society has always been very exploitative in nature. Only upper castes had the right to access knowledge and education. Naturally, they get acquainted with new ideas,” he said in an interview with Malayala Manorama daily.
Arguing that CPM is not a casteist organisation, Yechury said they do not see Dalits as Dalits but as Dalit Communists! “Being Communist is more important than representation based on caste,” he added.
He also said that the upper caste domination in CPM is apparently coming to an end and claimed that there are two Muslims and a Christian, along with two women, in the politburo!
When it was pointed out that both the women members belong to upper castes, Sitaram Yechury ‘explicitly’ said, “The reason is historical. We are fighting against that. Class struggle stands erect on two legs-social exploitation and social oppression. Both legs need to move. Only then we can walk or run!” In fact, CPM got its first woman politburo member, Brinda Karat, in 2005 when her husband Prakash Karat became the general secretary. In addition, it is pertinent to note that all the five general secretaries of the party have been upper-caste men!