The dance of Kairon

Forty-eight Punjab Communists, including an MP and a couple of MLAs have defected to the congress. Chief Minister Pratap Singh Kairon made a great song and dance of welcoming them to his fold. And the ex-communists, for their part, have made great play of denouncing their erstwhile comrades as “treacherous and unpatriotic” in their subservience to Russia and China. Possibly, the defectors are convinced that the CPI’s official line in respect of China is rather a tactical move than a reflection of a genuine change of attitude. This conviction of the Punjab Communists seem somewhat irrational when viewed in the border perspective of ideological readjustments going on in the entire Communist world barring the aggressively Leninist China. However in the limited perspective of the Punjab wing of the Communist party, this charge of treachery and unpatriotic subservience to China is not entirely irrelevant. For, the Secretary of the Party in Punjab, Shri Harikishen Surjit is an unrepentant supporter of Shri Ranadive. But this is certainly not the principal factor that clinched the decision of the defectors. Considering the fact that most of these defectors are from the Hariana districts, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the present breakaway is rather a reflection of the division of opinion within the party over the question of Punjabi Suba. It is well-known that an influential section of the Communist Party has been extending its moral support to the Akali movement much to the discomfiture of the Hariana Communists. And ever since the Swatantra Party and the P-SP openly declared their support to the Akali movement there have been some moves by the Communist Party to commit itself in favour of Punjabi Suba with a view to taking the wind out of the Swatantra and P-SP sails. It is probably this development in the CPI rather than its policy with regard to China which has influenced the decision of the communists from the Hariana districts to break away. And even if the CPI should decide openly to align itself with the Punjabi Suba movement it is highly unlikely to cause any great exodus from the CPI except the one that has already taken place in Punjab.

10th December 1960.

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