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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 26, New Delhi June 20, 2015

Left Perspective, CPI-M and a Corrigendum

Saturday 20 June 2015

The following is the letter from the CPI-M General Secretary to the Mainstream editor (June 15, 2015):

Dear Mr Sumit Chakravartty,

As the Editor of Mainstream Weekly, you had published an Editorial “Left Perspective Today” in Volume LIII (53), No. 20 on 09.05.2015 and which continues to be available at http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article5668.html. The Editorial contains an assertion which is false, baseless and malicious and is intended to defame the CPI-M as a political party in the eyes of the general public.

The said Editorial states: “The CPI-M’s backing of Pranab is not so simple as it may seem—for behind it was the largesse by a Big Business house (with which Pranab is deeply associated) to the CPI-M”. Your charge that the CPI-M made a decision regarding the Presidential election based on the “largesse” that it allegedly gained from an unnamed “Big Business house” is completely devoid of truth. You have shown malafide intention by such a statement giving the false impression that our Party is corrupt and pliable to corporate influence, when in actuality this cannot be further from the truth.

Since this false and malicious statement in the said Editorial has been read and seen by the people all over the country, it has had a damaging effect on the image of our Party.

In these circumstances, we demand that you take the following steps to undo the damage that has been caused by this Editorial.

(i) Remove the said Editorial (in any/all forms) as published and/or available on the Internet.

(ii) Publish on your website on a prominent place, as well as on webpage http://www.main-streamweekly.net/article5668.html as well as in the subsequent edition of your publication, i.e. Mainstream Weekly (online as well as in other media), a corrigendum to the said Editorial stating in effect that you withdraw the specific allegation and expressly apologise for publishing the same.

(iii) The corrigendum/apology must be published with the same or reasonably equi-valent prominence with which you published the said Editorial.

I hope that you will take these measures as suggested above and not compel us to take other measures, including initiating civil and legal proceedings against you.

Sitaram Yechury

General Secretary

Mainstream editor’s response:

In reply to the CPI-M General Secretary’s letter, I wish to point out:

(a) the first demand that the editorial of Mainstream (May 9, 2015) “Left Perspective Today”, as published and/or available on the Internet, be removed in full is not possible to be met due to practical reasons;

(b) the relevant sentence to which the CPI-M leader has objected can be and is being removed from the editorial as it appears on the internet mainly because we don’t want to vitiate the atmosphere of Left unity—which is imperative in the present situation when it is becoming incumbent on all the Left and democratic, secular forces to close ranks and unitedly face the principal enemy, the forces of majoritarian fascism, that pose the gravest danger to our secular democracy at this juncture; needless to emphasise that this constitutes the biggest threat to our polity in our post-independence history;

(c) we are deleting the sentence—“The CPI-M’s backing of Pranab is not so simple as it may seem—for behind it was the largesse by a Big Business house (with which Pranab is deeply associated) to the CPI-M” [that begins on the last line of column one of page 3 of Mainstream (May 9, 2015) and ends with the first paragraph of cloumn two of page 3];

(d) we deeply and sincerely regret the incorporation of this last sentence in the paragraph of the editorial beginning with the words: “If one goes through the documents of the CPI-M Congress at Visakhapatnam...”; this should be treated as a corrigendum;

(e) in the second paragraph of his letter, the CPI-M General Secretary charges Mainstream with demonstrating “malafide intention” by “giving the false impression that our Party is corrupt and pliable to corporate influence, when in actuality this cannot be further from the truth”; I must put on record that while writing the editorial I had no such intention whatsoever.

In conclusion, it needs to be reaffirmed that the operative part of the editorial lay in the last two paragraphs which read:

“The coordinated actions of the CPI-M under Yechury and CPI under the Reddy-Dasgupta collective leadership promise to evolve a new Left for building a new India defeating the communal depredations and neoliberal offen-sives of the ruling classes.

“Despite all obstacles on their path Yechury, Reddy and Dasgupta have sufficient capacity and potentiality to steer the CPI-M and CPI out of their present crises and unfold a better future for the Left and Indian people in the days ahead. But for that to happen the pre-condition is to eschew every form of sectarian outlook, approach and move with the perspective of mobilising all secular-democratic forces to eliminate the menace of communal polarisation without undermining the struggle against the neoliberal attacks on the public at large. However, while warding off the neoliberal assaults it is also essential for the two Left parties to project an alternative paradigm of development on socialist principles rooted on the bedrock of democracy.”

One earnestly hopes that the issues mentioned in these two paragraphs would be duly addressed by the Left leaders and parties, especially the two CPs, in the coming days.

June 18, 2015